IF CRIMINAL charges are not laid and police do not release detainee Tariq Mohammed today, attorneys will apply for a court order to have the 32-year-old freed.
Attorney Radeyah Ali gave a deadline of today for Mohammed’s release in a letter of demand she sent to acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams on Carnival Monday. Today, she notes, would mark six days since Mohammed’s arrest without charge. Mohammed is one of 13 men in custody on suspicion of a plot to disrupt Carnival.
Williams yesterday told reporters the number of detainees had increased to 13, after the first arrest of four, among them Mohammed last Thursday. By Saturday, the commissioner disclosed eight men were held and at a briefing on Sunday he reported the threat to Carnival was averted, before his latest report yesterday of 13 in custody.
Ali, in the legal letter to Williams, said Mohammed’s detention was an infringement of his constitutional rights. The letter gives police an ultimatum to either lay charges or release Mohammed or a writ of habeas corpus will be filed in the High Court seeking an order for him to be freed.
Newsday has also learned that along with Mohammed, attorneys for nine other Muslim suspects will seek similar legal redress if they are not charged. Popular radio announcer Shamoon Mohammed was allowed to visit his son, but complained yesterday that Mohammed was transferred to four police stations over the past six days.
Police carried out searches, reportedly for arms and ammunition, at Mohammed’s home in Mohammedville, El Socorro and at the Nur Islam mosque which he attends in San Juan. Police asked Mohammed to accompany them after they searched his home and he has been in custody since. The nine members of the mosque were arrested at their homes between Thursday and Saturday.
Shamoon told Newsday his son was first taken to Besson Street Police Station and was moved to the Belmont station the next day. He has also been questioned at Riverside Plaza and the Woodbrook station, his father said. “No one is telling us why Tariq has been detained. He agreed to go with the police.
On Saturday, Williams, in a media briefing, said the men’s arrests were not due to any suspicion of a terrorist threat and did not involved police unearthing a plot to bomb any embassy. “The threat we speak about is of unusual criminal acts of varying forms, including violence,” Williams had said.
A senior police source told Newsday yesterday that based on interviews with the suspects, no credible evidence was obtained to justify laying criminal charges. Following the reports of the national security threat, the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom issued advisories to its citizens to be careful and alert while in Trinidad. American news agency CNN said US intelligence operatives help TT authorities in unearthing the plot.
Charge’ d’ Affaires at the US Embassy John McIntyre took in the sights of Carnival as a spectator in Ariapita Avenue, Woodbrook yesterday. A US Embassy post on Facebook, with a photograph of McIntyre enjoying the revelry, thanked the Government and police for keeping Carnival safe. “Thank you the Government of Trinidad and Tobago, especially Trinidad and Tobago Police service, for keeping us safe and secure. This is truly the greatest lime in the world,” the post said.