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Jun 28, 2016

Police Refuse to Reveal Source in Ahmad Family Mass Detention

Allen Whylie

On Monday evening, Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie, accompanied by Special Branch head Marco Vidal, called a press conference purportedly to brief the media on the detention of nineteen members of the Ahmad family from Hattieville last week Monday. It’s a curious case. The Muslim family was part of a major, organized sweep which targeted six homes simultaneously. The warrant gave police the right to seize documents and all electronic items. All detainees were released hours after without charges being laid. There was an immediate outcry as the family claimed they were targeted because of their religion, and then retained legal representation. So why was the family targeted? The police won’t say, and neither will they reveal the source of the information which kicked off an intensive investigation. 

 

Allen Whylie, Commissioner of Police

“I won’t go into where the information came from. As Mr. Vidal said we had some information and we’ve been working on it over a period of time. It was felt that it was prudent to move forward in terms of the searches and that’s what was done.”

 

Reporter

“Would you be able to say if it was an internal or external source?”

 

Allen Whylie

“I don’t know what that would impact. All work that was done was done by the Belize Police Department. That is immaterial. We are the ones who executed.”

 

Marco Vidal

Marco Vidal, Head, Special Branch

“The warrant was specific in terms of the items that we could seize. We could not go outside of that. So it included electronic devices and paper documents that would have told us the kind of evidence that we would require in investigating the offence of Conspiracy to Commit Damage to Property and Conspiracy to Commit Murder.”

 

Reporter

“About the electronic devices…another allegation that has surfaced is that those devices were held at the US Embassy. Would you be able to confirm or deny those allegations?”

 

Marco Vidal

“As I’ve said this is a solely Belize Police operation. It is the Police that obtained the warrant and had to produce reasonable cause, it is the Police that executed the search, it is the Police that detained and took the persons to the Station and the properties were kept in the custody of the Belize Police Department.”

 

Reporter

“Was the search…did the search, since you’ve been investigating for several months based on information that we have received – was the search helpful? Will the nation see arrests and charges in the near future as a direct result of the action the Police took?”

 

Marco Vidal

“Well it is difficult to say at this time when the investigation will conclude. We are hoping that in a couple of weeks we will be able to wrap up. From there a determination will be made as to the way forward.”

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