Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 28th 2015 Contents A5
Tuesday, July 28, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
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Mere days after he was detained
and later released by police inves-
tigating the murder of Senior
Counsel Dana Seetahal, Jamaat-al-
Muslimeen leader Yasin Abu Bakr
yesterday attended the first court
appearance of 11 of his members
charged with crime.
While only a handful of family
members of the accused men were
allowed in the Port-of-Spain Eighth
Magistrate s Court for the brief hear-
ing, Bakr was allowed a front seat
position in the public gallery.
As the accused men, all in Muslim
garb, were coralled into the prisoner
enclosure by police, several
exchanged smiles and "thumbs up"
signals with the 74-year-old leader
of the organisation, who was seated
alongside the head of the Jamaat s
Carapo outpost, Hassan Ali.
Ali, who was also among members
of the organisation who were
detained last week by police but later
released without charge, is the father
of three of the accused men---Rajaee,
Hamid and Ishmael Ali--- and also
of Hassan Atwell, who was part of
last week s daring prison break from
the Port-of-Spain State Prison.
Atwell was found murdered at Pic-
cadilly Street, East Dry River, early
In addition to being charged with
assassinating the former Independ-
ent Senator in Woodbrook on May
4 last year, the Ali brothers and their
eight co-accused were charged with
being members of a gang between
March last year and last Friday.
Rajaee was also charged with being
the leader of the gang.
Three members of the organisation
who were not charged with the mur-
der---Devon Peters, David Ector and
one of Rajaee s wives, Stacy Griffith
---were also charged with being
members of the gang. Griffith was
charged separately under the Anti-
Gang Act for facilitating the activities
of the gang.
They were not called upon to
plead to any of the charges as they
were laid indictably. The 14 accused
were all denied bail and remanded
to the Port-of-Spain State Prison.
The three charged under the Anti-
Gang Act and not with the murder
will be permitted to apply for bail
if their case does not commence
within 120 days.
Besides stringent security meas-
ures implemented throughout down-
town Port-of-Spain and near the St
Vincent Street courthouse for the
hearing yesterday, additional meas-
ures were also introduced inside the
The accused men s female rela-
tives, who were dressed in burkas
and other Islamic head scarves, were
subjected to two searches before
being allowed to enter the court, one
at the entrance of the building and
then another at the entrance of the
Two burly police officers wearing
tactical gear and bullet proof vests
flanked Chief Magistrate Marcia
Ayers-Caesar throughout the brief
hearing, as over a dozen of their col-
leagues stood guard at various posi-
tions in the court to prevent com-
munication between the accused
men and relatives.
After the charges were read by
Ayers-Caesar and the 14 Jamaat
members were all denied bail and
remanded into custody, their lawyer,
Criston J Williams, began listing a
series of complaints from his clients
over the police s handling of the
Firstly, Williams complained about
recent media reports on the case,
which he said jeopardised his clients
ability to eventually get a fair trial.
He also described the fact that his
clients appeared in court on the
anniversary of the 1990 attempted
coup and were only charged after
he threatened a lawsuit against the
police last week as "passingly
He also questioned how come one
of the murder accused, Garett Wise-
man, was charged with the crime
although he has been on remand in
prison for over ten years.
"He has been charged when he
has been in custody for the past 12
years. He does not even know what
Ariapita Avenue looks like now,"
Williams said as he called on the
office of the Director of Public Pros-
ecutions (DPP) to clarify the case
against his client.
Lastly, Williams called upon
Ayers-Caesar to recuse herself from
the case as she did previously in
Rajaee and Ishmael Ali s separate
case for conspiring to murder radio
announcer Kevaughn "Lurbz" Savory
in November last year.
The siblings have been in remand
since then and were taken from
prison over the weekend to be
charged with Seetahal s murder.
In response, DPP Roger Gaspard,
SC, who appeared personally to rep-
resent his office, rejected most of
He, however, acknowledged the
issue with pre-trial publicity and
undertook to warn the media of
parameters of reporting on the case.
"In my customary way I propose
to enjoin the media from doing any-
thing or publishing anything which
may cast a shadow over the fair trial
and inquiry of the accused persons,"
He also refused to respond to
Williams allegations of the police s
handling of the case as he said: "I
do not wish to dignify this particular
suggestion. If he (Williams) would
like to take this further I would
expect him to provide particulars."
Gaspard also informed Williams
that he would not respond to
Williams call for Ayers-Caesar to
recuse herself until he (Williams)
filed an official application. Regarding
his office s position on Wiseman,
Gaspard said he would inform the
court and Williams on the issue
before the next hearing of the case.
Seetahal was shot dead behind
the wheel of her SUV after being
ambushed by gunmen along Hamil-
ton Holder Street, Woodbrook, on
May 4. She was returning to her
home at One Woodbrook Place after
spending a night at the Ma Pau Casi-
no, Ariapita Avenue.
The group will reappear in court
to answer for the crime on August
Abu Bakr offers moral support as..
11 in court for Dana's murder
From Page A4
One, a young woman in jeans and
a green scarf-type hijab, wept. Other
women kept trying to comfort her
and secure her loosening scarf.
Around mid-morning, the group
came to the area in front the court,
seeking to enter. They were elec-
tronically scanned on the street by
officers, ahead of the scanning sys-
tem inside the court building.
A heavily robed youth whose head
was almost completely covered with
an overhanging grey kuffiyeh was
asked to lift his robe up to around
his waist. Bakr, his son and others
entered while Ballack and another
group remained on Duke Street.
Fuad Abu Bakr emerged an hour
later, voicing his (dim) view of the
He later told the T&T Guardian
of the toll it was taking on relatives
of the accused spouses: A two-year-
old daughter who had gone into
withdrawal; a wife who had stopped
eating; another forced to breastfeed
her infant on the street, waiting to
see her husband.
People began to disperse after
noon when the last batches were
processed and prisoners were later
ferried to Remand on Frederick
For the police, however, the mood
didn t relax, even as one officer gen-
tly helped a blind young man tap
his way through the street of police,
vehicles (and media cables).
It was after all, July 27 and a quar-
ter century after that last memorable
period, it was all business this time.
Security measures cause delays
Those charged with murdering
Seetahal and with gang offences:
1. Rajaee Ali, 29, of Rose Drive,
2. Devaughn Cummings, 29, of Poui
Lane, Malabar, Arima.
3. Ishmael Ali, 30, of Pinewood Drive,
Carapo, Arima (brother of Rajaee Ali).
4. Ricardo Stewart, 30, of Rose Drive,
5. Earl Richards, 48, of Waterhole,
6. Stephan Cummings, 33, of Rose
7. Gareth Wiseman, 33, of Caledonia
Road, Lange Park, Chaguanas.
8. Hamid Ali, 34, of Melodians
Crescent, Malabar, Arima, (brother of
9. Kevin Parkinson, 28, of Waterhole,
10. Leston Gonzales, 28, of Malabar,
11. Roget Boucher, 29, of Rose Drive,
Those charged with only gang
1. Stacy Griffith, 29, of Malabar,
Arima (wife of Rajaee Ali).
2. Deon Peters, 35, from Malabar and
3. David Ector, 35, of Bon Air Gardens,
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