The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) has taken its outrage to the ears of the diplomatic community in Guyana, seeking to gain support against what it said was the violation of human rights, following the arrest of two of its supporters recently.
The party said the move signifies the re-emergence of “political prisoners” under the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Coalition Government.
The issue at hand was the recent arrest of journalist and TV Talk Show Host Kwame McCoy, and Jason Abdulla, journalist; both members of the PPP.
According to the Party, it will be taking the necessary steps to highlight and condemn the “dangerous development” which it said represents a violation of the basic human rights of the two individuals and a retrogression of our democracy.
“The People’s Progressive Party would like to draw to the attention of the diplomatic community the reintroduction of political prisoners in Guyana under the David Granger-lead Administration.”
It recalled that Abdulla and McCoy were arrested by the Police on February 15 and February 17 respectively, without ready access to their lawyer and family, while being subjected to physical and psychological abuse until the Party publicly exposed this violation to the media.
“Mr Abdulla in particular was beaten while in Police custody to sign a confession statement which content he was unfamiliar. Eventually on the repeated insistence of his lawyer, he was taken to the hospital and when the doctor confirmed injuries to his feet, Assistant Superintendent of Police Mitchell Ceasar instructed his ranks to have the doctor rewrite the medical report”, the content of the letter stated.
According to the party, the two men were being shuttled around to various Police locations in order to prevent them from accessing the constitutional rights available to persons in Police custody.
“After over 144 hours of incarceration they were both charged with a common assault incident which allegedly occurred since May 2010. During their incarceration, they were both informed that the Police was also investigating them for the murder of Courtney Crum-Ewing which occurred before the elections of May 2015”.
The Party explained that McCoy, a practicing journalist was Head of the Press and Publicity Unit of the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Administration. He is also an elected member to the Central Committee of the PPP, the second highest body of the Party. “Mr McCoy currently works as the Executive Assistant to the Leader of the Opposition of Guyana. Mr Abdulla, also a journalist, was a senior officer in the Government Information Agency and the Press and Publicity Unit of the PPP/C Administration and now an employee of Freedom Radio, Guyana.”
It noted that the PPP is deeply concerned over the Government of Guyana’s violation of its human rights obligations, under both domestic and international law as they continue to harass two journalists who were made political prisoners and now face a trump-up charge of common assault.
The party is therefore seeking the attention of the international community to these “disturbing occurrences where the Granger-lead Administration in its haste to execute its political persecution is reintroducing the conditions for political prisoner.”