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Imam knocks police intel
Five of the 13 people detained in relation to an alleged terrorist plot targeting recently concluded Carnival celebrations, were released by police between Wednesday evening and last night.
Police and legal sources confirmed that Tariq Mohammed, Fawaz Ali, Clint Rivers, Kirsten Mohammed and Edoo Mohammed were released from various police stations across north Trinidad after being questioned by investigators over the past week.
Tariq and Ali were released on Wednesday night, while the rest were released yesterday evening.
The last to be released was Edoo Mohammed, an imam from Enterprise, Chaguanas.
In a brief interview as he waited on relatives outside the Besson Street Police Station last night, Edoo criticised members of the protective services over their investigation.
“This shows that the Ministry of National Security’s intelligence apparatus is very weak,” he said.
Tariq, Ali and Rivers’ releases came after their families threatened filing habeas corpus writs which require police to bring a detainee before a High Court Judge and justify their continued detention. Tariq and Ali were released before the writs were filed by their lawyers. Rivers’ attorneys, Wayne Sturge and Alexia Romero, filed his yesterday and it was approved by High Court Judge Ricky Rahim without a hearing.
By the time Rahim’s order was communicated to investigators, however, Rivers, a customs officer, had already been released.
As part of his order, Rahim ordered Rivers to appear before him in the San Fernando High Court this morning. After the hearing, Rahim is expected to preside over yet another habeas corpus from a mother of a four-month-old child from San Juan who was detained during the investigation
The woman’s husband has also filed a similar lawsuit, which will be heard by Justice Kevin Ramcharan in the Port-of-Spain High Court simultaneously.
There were rumours of more releases and pending legal action circulating yesterday, but these cases could not be confirmed by the T&T Guardian.
Speaking to reporters following a meeting with leaders of the major Islamic organisations at the Ministry of National Security in Port-of-Spain yesterday evening, acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams could only confirm that Tariq and Ali had been released, as he said he was engaged in the meeting for several hours.
“You may have more updated information than us. We spent a pretty long period inside a meeting but I am sure I can get the information for you,” Williams said.
ABOUT THE PLOT
The plot to allegedly disrupt Carnival celebrations was first revealed by the T&T Police Service (TTPS) last Thursday, after a first batch of suspects were arrested at their homes in Mohammedville, San Juan.
Over the next few days, police made several other arrests, bringing the total detainees to 13.
While members of the protective services were on alert for the threat during the Carnival weekend, none materialised.
Since then, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, National Security Minister Edmund Dillon and acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams have each called press conferences to state that the threat was legitimate.
However, they have not revealed details of the threat, including its nature and the intended target or targets.
Speaking with reporters yesterday, Dillon denied reports that police received assistance from foreign agencies, including the United States (US) Government.
The claim was reported in CNN report last week, after police arrested the first suspects and the plot was made public.
“It was a police led operation that was led by intelligence gathered by the TTPS and agencies of national security in T&T. There was no outside input,” Dillon said.
During the 2011 state of emergency (SoE), almost a dozen Muslim men were held for an alleged plot to assassinate then prime minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and key members of her Cabinet.
The men were held for an extended period under special detention powers granted during the SoE, but were eventually freed due to insufficient evidence against them.
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