RJR News /
The Office of the Public Defender has started taking steps to intervene in the situation surrounding the detention of more than 100 men at the Freeport Police Station in Montego Bay, St James due to the State of Emergency.
Public Defender Arlene Harrison Henry has confirmed that information is being gathered to guide what action her office takes.
The Police have reported that, since the State of Emergency was announced on Thursday, more than one hundred men have been detained.
On Monday they reported that 197 people were taken into custody over a period of three days. Some have been granted bail and others released without charge, but that still left 111 still in custody, with ten of them to be charged with various offences.
Stacy-Ann Young, President of the Cornwall Bar Association, is reporting that the feedback coming from inside the detention centre at Freeport Police Station is worrying.
Miss Young revealed on RJR’s Beyond the Headlines on Monday that attorneys have been posted at the detention centre on a shift basis to assist in representation for the detained men, but they have been unable to get information on their status.
She lamented that the facility is overcrowded and conditions are worsening.
Miss Young added that there is no clear plan in sight on what is to happen to the detainees.
Mrs. Harrison Henry told RJR News on Monday night that her office had not yet received any complaint but is closely monitoring the situation, noting that “we don’t have to receive a complaint to investigate something, so this is a matter that is high on our radar and our priority.”
But already, the Cornwall Bar Association President is confident that there’s a basis for intervention, pointing, for example, to the apparent lack of a systematic approach towards questioning and detention or release of persons taken in by the police. “The police ought to know the persons whom they are ready to question or just release, and if they are ready at this time for questioning, we are ready with the services, but as it stands, there’s absolutely no system,” Miss Young said. She even expresssed doubt concerning whether the police have a list of the persons who are in their own custody, describing the situation as “haphazard”. She said the Cornwall Bar Association is “working along with the Public Defender’s Office (to) see how we can resolve the situation as quickly as possible.”
JAMAICA: Public Defender Getting Set To Intervene At State Of Emergency Detention Centre; Cornwall Bar Association Concerned
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