Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 23rd 2015 Contents A8
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Tuesday, June 23, 2015
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Fourteen months after they were arrested
on suspicion of terrorism and imprisoned
in Venezuela, close friends, family and fol-
lowers of Islam have now embarked on
attempting to have a petition signed for
their release and safe return to their families
This may, according to the head of the
Waajihatul Islaamiyyah (The Islamic Front),
Umar Abdullah, have a direct affect on the
upcoming general election.
On March 19, 2014, 23 T&T nationals---
men, women and children---were arrested
in Venezuela on suspicion of terrorism.
Among them were three imams (Muslim
Six days after the four women and 11 chil-
dren were released. After 45 days the three
imams were subsequently released.
However, Wade Charles, Dominic Pitilal,
Leslie Daisley, Asim Luqman and Andre Bat-
tersby were kept in prison and are still in
Venezuelan custody without charges being
laid against them.
In an interview yesterday, Abdullah said
he believed the freeing of the men could
only happen, via political intervention, and
called on Prime Minister Kamla Persad-
Bissessar not to interfere with the judicial
system in Venezuela but to ensure that the
T&T nationals currently detained in Sevin,
Venezuela, were safe.
"A couple nights ago there was an alleged
shooting incident in Sevin and our nationals
had to allegedly run for cover. The situation
is worsening in Venezuela and we are asking
that their safety be kept high on the agen-
"We are asking for political intervention
which we believe will be critical for their
release because they are political prisoners.
They have not been charged for anything
up to this date," Abdullah said.
He said he visited the men in the Venezue-
lan detention centre for the first time last
"I was able to embrace them and spent
about three hours with them. They are doing
great but there are health concerns. Of course
they are affected mentally and emotionally
having to be away from their wives and chil-
"This is a second month of Ramadan that
they will be inside. We thought by Eid last
year that they would have been allowed to
come home but yet another Eid is close by
and they are still there," Abdullah said.
There are two petitions currently being
carried out, online and hardcopy. The aim
is to have about 300,000 signatures of people
who are advocates of justice and fairness.
The petition, upon completion, will be
handed over to government officials demand-
ing that the T&T Government do all in its
power to have the prisoners returned to their
"We demand justice and call for the
immediate and unconditional release of our
"We aspire that T&T be a proponent of
democracy by enabling our nationals to carry
out their religious obligations without fear
of retribution and by empowering diverse
voices for the purpose of building a greater
T&T with tolerance, civil liberties, under-
standing and equality," part of the petition
Abdullah said he has already met with
the new National Security Minister Carl
Alfonso and awaits for an update.
Efforts to reach Alfonso for comment yes-
terday proved futile.
A Gasparillo father who stormed out a
Father s Day lime to drink alcohol was chas-
tised by San Fernando magistrate Ava Van-
denburg-Bailey for not setting a better exam-
ple for his children.
Alvin Kallicharan, 37, a road supervisor at
Kallco Ltd was fined a total of $800 when he
appeared before the San Fernando Fifth Court
yesterday, charged with disorderly conduct,
using obscene language and resisting arrest.
According to court prosecutor Sgt Chanar-
dath Jhilmit, police were patrolling Bonne
Aventure Road around 10.15 am Sunday when
officers stopped to search an abandoned vehicle
parked on the roadside.
Smelling strongly of alcohol, Kallicharan
approached and pointed his hands in an officer s
face and said: "Allyuh can t take that car. Allyuh
stupid or what?"
Even though the officers identified them-
selves and cautioned him about disorderly
conduct, he then continued his tirade, saying:
"Allyuh police dotish boy."
As the officers grabbed his hands, they said
he pulled away violently and used obscene
language. He was eventually subdued and taken
to the Gasparillo Police Station where he was
When questioned by Vandenburg-Bailey,
Kallicharan did not deny the charges. He said
he went to a bar to ease his frustration after
an argument with his wife.
Defence attorney Analee Girwah said he was
at a Father s Day lime with his children at their
School Trace home where he and his wife had
Frustrated, he left and went to a nearby bar
to ease his anger. She said he admitted to being
intoxicated and was apologetic for his action.
However, Vandenburg-Bailey scolded this
explanation, asking Kallicharan if he felt he
was the only one who had frustrations on
She said: "If everybody who got frustrated
went to a bar and got so drunk that they can t
remember what they did, what do you think
would happen to society? Is this the kind of
example you want to set for your children?"
She said it was unsatisfactory for adults to
deal with situations by using alcohol and fined
him $500 for resisting arrest and $150 each
for using obscene language and disorderly con-
duct. He was ordered to pay the fine by 3 pm
After 14 months five still in Venezuela prison...
Move to get PM's help
at the National
launch of its
the NCIC. The
held at the
On February 24, 2015,
Venezuela President Nicholas
Maduro came to T&T for the
signing of a new agreement on
energy affairs. His arrival was met
with protest by Venezuelan
nationals residing in T&T who
were calling for him to step down
Also, protesting were members
of the Islamic Front, led by
Abdullah. Abdullah and four
others placarded outside the
Diplomatic Centre, St Ann's for the
release of the five Trinidadians.
While in T&T, Maduro and T&T's
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-
Bissessar discussed the situation
with Persad-Bissessar making a
public announcement that further
talks between the governments
would resume on the matter.
On March 27, 2014, a delegation
of officials, headed by Rear
Admiral Richard Kelshall (national
security adviser to the Prime
Minister of T&T), left Trinidad on a
On March 25, 2014 these five
citizens are among eight
Venezuelans who were allegedly
accused of attempting to
destabilise the Venezuelan
government and to assassinate
the President without being
charged, to date.
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