Police Brutality: Harding incident must be investigated – Eusi Kwayana

News Reports on the Colwyn Harding incident are at the end of this letter.

Police Brutality: Harding incident must be investigated – Eusi Kwayana

Eusi Kwayana

Eusi Kwayana

Dear Editor,

The Harding allegations of torture by means of a baton  pushed into the anus of a prisoner  is an act of sheer brutality.

Whether the Ministers concerned deny  the act or not,  and whether the alleged victim  has a reputation or not the testimonies on both sides   seem to establish  that Harding suffered an act of brutality. Its name is for the Courts, or for competent people to determine.

There is a responsibility  on a government to bring to justice  any of its officers  suspected of torture. If it does not, then the government itself deserves to be accused of cover up, and runs the risk of being seen and to rank as an accomplice after the fact. 

Young Harding’s  testimony is credible and clears the way for a fair investigation or other legal procedure. There can be no reasonable obligation on the part of the victim to instruct the physicians. What if he were unconscious?  The victim does not have to know what a hernia is, or how it may be caused. That omission is a useless red herring.

The responsibility for informing the doctors  of the circumstance of the injury and  the victim’s condition is that of the police. The Minister politically responsible is the Minister of Home Affairs, unfortunately the General Secretary of the ruling party.

Harding has said that  he was ashamed to tell people of his ordeal. His fears were not groundless. He wanted to tell the Magistrate, “quietly”  in a court of strangers. He was too ashamed to do so. Is that not easy to understand? The prison guards  laughed at him and mocked him when he told them of his ordeal.

On Friday night the report came out that a fellow prisoner, Mr Phillips, called “Muslim,”  gave an eyewitness statement to Harding’s Attorney at law, Mr. Nigel Hughes.   We should regard the hernia surgery of December 13, which no doubt took place, as intended to cast doubt. It may yet do the opposite. The point is that it came after the incidents at Timehri  lockup. To push a pencil into a prisoner’s  anus is a violation. A Baton is only evidence of the extreme brutality at work. A government that does not make its position on torture clear beyond doubt runs the risk of being seen as is a partner in crime.

Many may see this issue as purely political or as not concerning us. The only way to ensure that our loved ones do not suffer similarly is to join forces to ensure that we expel torture from the system.

Yours respectfully’

eusi Kwayana


Background Information:News Reports of the Colwyn Harding incident.

1. Baton-sodomy: Prison officers allegedly invaded ward and scuffled with Harding (Latest News) … Online News that the incident occurred about 8:20 Thursday night while two of their colleagues were dressing 23-year old Colwyn Harding. Harding and the nurses confirmed that during the scuffle, his sutures….Created on 17 January 20142.

2. Baton-sodomy: Harding says was ashamed to tell doctors; prison wardens mocked him (Latest News).. 23-year old Colwyn Harding Friday afternoon said he made several failed attempts to quietly tell authorities and nurses that a policeman had sodomized with a baton but he was ashamed to do so. He rejected …Created on 17 January 20143.

3. No evidence of sodomy; detainee never complained of sexual assault- doctors (Latest News)… to 10:02 AM, 23-year old Colwyn Harding was seen shackled to a bed in the Male Medical Ward and under guard by a prison warden. He was sitting up and playing word game. Senior Registrar of the Georgetown …Created on 17 January 20144.

4.Top cop asks for time; policemen deny baton-sodomy of detainee (Latest News) … not given Hughes any commitment concerning a GUY$100 million demand for assault and injury to 23-year old Colwyn Harding. “We are aware of the matter- the OPR (Office of Professional Responsibility)- and …Created on 16 January 20145.

5. Harding lost “significant length” of intestines – Health Minister (Latest News) Health Minister Dr. Bheri Ramsaran says Colwyn Harding, the man allegedly sexually assaulted by a policeman, has lost a significant portion of his intestines. The minister made the revelation in parliament …Created on 16 January 20146.

6. Govt rules out voluntary compensation to baton-sodomized man(Latest News)… with reporters after a post-cabinet press briefing, Head of the Presidential Secretariat Dr. Roger Luncheon suggested that government was unlikely to offer 23-year old Colwyn Harding any money in light …Created on 16 January 20147.

7. Civil society orgs; ordinary Guyanese demand tougher action against police in baton-sexual assault case(Latest News)… was so far insufficient. More than 50 persons braved heavy rain and picketed outside the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) where 23-year old Colwyn Harding remained a patient suffering from …Created on 15 January 20148.

8. Baton-sodomy makes mockery of police reform- Home Ministry(Latest News)… 15 at Timehri North where Harding was arrested in a house as part of a probe into stolen items, the Home Affairs Ministry said the force’s image has been tarnished. “The allegation has raised once again …Created on 15 January 20149.

9. Police force warns of “stern action” against baton-sodomy accused cop(Latest News)In the wake of mounting condemnaation, the Guyana Police Force on Wednesday warned that stern action would be taken against members of the force found culpable of the baton-sodomy of Colwyn Harding who …Created on 15 January 201410.

10. Policeman allegedly involved in baton-sodomy of detainee under close arrest(Latest News)… according to police sources. The sources said the matter was also engaging the attention of the Office of Professional Responsibility. 23-year old Colwyn Harding remains in a serious condition at the …Created on 15 January 201411.

11. Policeman allegedly rams baton down detainee’s anus, ruptures his intestines; GUY$100 million compensation demanded(Latest News)… detention. Colwyn Harding,23, was allegedly “violently assaulted” on November 15, 2013 by a number of police officers, in particular a named constable, when the lawmen attended to a building at Timehri …Created on 14 January 2014

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