Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 16th 2016 Contents an apartment, buy food and other essen-
Since his detention the Interior Ministry
in Saudi Arabia has been provided with details
of how he got the money and his wife pro-
vided a breakdown of what it was to be used
for. Mohammed said the Saudi authorities
have also been provided with other financial
information relating to a credit card which
Tariq s wife, Saudah, also wrote to the
King of Saudi Arabia and the Minister of
Interior Affairs about the detention of her
husband. They acknowledged her letters and
she has been given a reference number with
respect to the matter.
Grateful for the assistance from the author-
ities on both sides of the divide since his
detention, Tariq s family continue to pray
and hope. Mohammed told us the process
could be "speeded up if somebody with clout
like an honorary consul or emissary could
go to Saudi Arabia and talk with the Ministry
of the Interior Affairs to share the information
which will clear Tariq of any link to terrorism
and allow him to return home."
Asked whether this would be considered,
Daniel-Charles speaking on behalf of the
ministry said: "Negotiation procedures and
processes with a sovereign state, involving
matters such as the detention of nationals
overseas, are treated with the strictest con-
fidence and the ministry is not now in a
position to release any information concerning
the negotiating process or position, nor can
this information, at this point in time, be
conveyed to third parties not directly involved
in the ensuing processes."
She said the ministry held this position
"so as not to prejudice the outcome of its
approaches to the sovereign state of Saudi
The ministry said its overarching aim was
to bring closure to the situation.
Tariq is allowed to call his family and has
assured his wife that he is "doing okay."
GML ENTERPRISE DESK
There is hope for the release of Trinidadian nation-
al Tariq Shamoon Mohammed who has been
detained in Saudi Arabia since August last year, as
the Ministry of Foreign and Caricom Affairs is col-
laborating with the relevant authorities to secure
Responding to questions from the GML Enterprise
Desk, the ministry through its communications man-
ager Lisa Daniel-Charles, said officials continue to
communicate, through appro-
priate diplomatic channels, with
the government of Saudi Arabia
to secure Mohammed s release.
Tariq, 30, is the son of
Trinidad Broadcasting Corpo-
ration presenter Shamoon
Mohammed. He was detained
on August 21, 2015, by Saudi
Arabian national security officials
on his return to the country after
a vacation at home, on grounds
that he was involved in activities
linked to terrorism.
But his aunt Nafeesa Mohammed told the GML
Enterprise Desk "that is contrary to everything our
family stands for and nurtured into believing and
practising." She said Tariq is a "very bright and affable
young man. He is not a terrorist."
Mohammed said because some Trinidadians have
chosen to go to Syria to join the Islamic State of Iraq
and Syria (ISIS) and take part in jihad it is affecting
other local Muslims, "some of whom are even finding
it difficult to get visas."
She said "because of a similarity in names people
are now being tarnished." She said Tariq s detention
was "a case of mistaken identity."
With reports of some local Muslims going to Syria
to join ISIS, Mohammed said "this is a time when we
Muslims must put our house in order and collaborate
so that accurate information is shared.
"There must be proper systems so that each case
is treated on its own merit and timely information
shared to deal with these issues."
Efforts to secure Tariq s release started under former
Foreign Affairs minister Winston Dookeran and since
the change in government, last September, relatives
have approached the current Minister Dennis Moses
and National Security Minister Edmund Dillon for
assistance. But despite the efforts of the ministers and
their respective ministries Tariq remains in detention.
Mohammed said: "Globally there seems to be a
networking that takes place in terms of sharing infor-
mation. We are hoping our own authorities will con-
tinue to use information gathered and clear his name."
She said although the situation has "put a tremen-
dous strain on the family they are not losing hope.
We hope we can continue to share the information
and secure his release."
Mohammed said this country has always had good
relations with Saudi Arabia. "We go to Hajj, pilgrims
come and go, now may be an opportune time to
deepen the relations which we had over the years."
Tariq s father Shamoon told us although he is being
kept in detention he is allowed to walk around, and
has a room with a television in it. But he admitted
it was a difficult time.
He said: "It is nerve-wracking. We are trying to
stay calm." He said he and Tariq s mother had spoken
to their son and they told him to "stay calm and cool
and to continue to pray." They are also hoping that
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will send a letter to
the Saudi Embassy in Caracas indicating that he was
not involved in any terrorist activity.
Shamoon said he met with the Saudi ambassador
who told him that the letter was crucial.
Tariq is in his final year at the University of Medina
in Saudi Arabia where he is pursuing a degree in
Islamic studies and Arabic. On his return to Saudi
Arabia he had US$6,000 which relatives say was for
the upkeep of his family in Medina, to pay rent for
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Saturday, January 16, 2016
New hope for detained Trini
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