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 Ishmael stripped of clothes...and dignity

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PostSubject: Ishmael stripped of clothes...and dignity   Ishmael stripped of clothes...and dignity I_icon_minitimeWed Nov 06, 2013 9:40 am


THE POLICE officers who arrested cable television host Inshan Ishmael asked him to strip naked and squat in the middle of the Central Police Station in Port-of-Spain, an attorney for the activist said yesterday.

Gregory Delzin, SC, was addressing Chief Magistrate Sherman Mc Nicolls in the Port-of-Spain Magistrate’s Court yesterday after the dramatic Wednesday night arrest of Ishmael, who was having a barbecue dinner with friends at his home in Bamboo Settlement.

Lamenting on the treatment meted out to his client, Delzin said Ishmael was “treated very horribly” while in custody.

He (Ishmael) was grabbed from his family around 9.20 pm on Wednesday and forced to strip naked and made to squat in front of police officers,” Delzin said.

Although scores of business owners closed their doors in apparent support of the call to shut down the country, Ishmael himself received little support in court yesterday.

Ishmael, who operates the Islamic Broadcasting Network (IBN), had advocated a national shutdown of the country for yesterday and today in protest at spiralling crime, high food prices and corruption.

Following his arrest for what his attorneys claimed was anti-terrorism charges, Ishmael appeared in court shortly after midday as a handful of his supporters dressed in red T-shirts mingled outside.

Ishmael was charged with failing to print the names and addresses of the publisher and publicist on a handbill that he allegedly circulated.

He pleaded not guilty yesterday and was placed on $10,000 bail.

The penalty for such an offence carries a fine of $1,000 or six months simple imprisonment.

Urging Mc Nicolls to immediately dismiss the charge, Delzin told the court the manner in which his client was arrested and charged was not in accordance with the proper procedure required by law.

He said the date stated on the complaint made by the police and submitted to the court was Monday, January 25, 2007.

But according to Sections 104 and 105 of the Summary Courts Act, Ishmael could only have been arrested without a warrant if he had been found committing an offence.

The date of the charge was 25th January when he (Ishmael) was in custody and therefore could not have been found committing an offence,” Delzin said.

He also told the court the offence was an arrestable one and therefore Ishmael should have been taken to court by way of a summons.

Therefore, the warrant of arrest and the charge laid are null and void since the court could only hear the charge by way of a summons which was not filed,” Delzin indicated.

But state prosecutor Nirana Parasran said the police had the option of “either going by way of a warrant or without one.”

But Delzin again asked the Chief Magistrate to allow justice to prevail by throwing out the case.

He also complained to the court that the police misinformed Ishmael’s attorneys.

The police informed his lawyers on January 24 that Ishmael had been arrested under the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2005,” he said.

And the police further informed the attorneys they (the police) were allowed to keep him (Ishmael) for 72 hours under the legislation which would have coincided with the period of the call for shut down.”

He further added that not only did the anti-terrorism legislation not give the power to the police to arrest except by a detention order of a judge but, “any act which disrupts any service and is committed in pursuance of a demonstration, protest, or stoppage of work is specially excepted from the definition of a terrorist act.”

Therefore, Delzin told the court, the complained activities of the accused could not fall under the Anti-Terrorism Act.

“The police in hindsight wanted to find an excuse for their behaviour,” Delzin charged.

He said the officers should have instead served Ishmael with a summons to come to court and allow the court to then take its course.

But after listening to submissions, Mc Nicolls told the court that he was making “no pronouncements” on the case.

Pointing out that the alleged offence took place in the St George district, Mc Nicolls then transferred the matter to the Tunapuna Magistrates Court to be heard next Monday.

Emerging from the court at around 1.30 pm, Ishmael, who was shielded from the media by his supporters, was placed into a black jeep and driven off.

The Charge

That on Monday January 25, 2007, at the corner of Abercromby Street and Eastern Main Road, St Joseph, (Inshan Ishmael) did circulate a handbill giving notice of a national shutdown on Thursday, January 25, 2007, and Friday, January 26, 2007, and a public gathering at the Aranguez Savannah on Saturday, January 27, 2007, and such bill did not have printed or written thereon the name and address of the publisher or publicist contrary to Section 105 of the Summary Offences Act Chapter 11.02.

Ishmael out on bail

Activist granted $10,000 bail

Faces fine of $1,000 or six months in jail

Matter sent to the Tunapuna

Magistrates Court next Monday

Charged with distributing handbills without identifying the publisher.

Claims arresting cops forced him to strip naked.
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