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Sep 19, 2018

Attorney Audrey Matura Raises Further Questions on the State of Public Emergency

Forty plus men have been locked up since September fifth following the proclamation of state of public emergency on two neighbourhoods, in south side Belize City, where the George Street and the Mayflower/Bank Street gangs reside. Seven days later, the men were transported to the Central Prison in Hattieville where they remain detained, without any charges levied against them. Their constitutional rights have also been waived as a result of the proclamation, which is being monitored closely by the Human Rights Commission of Belize as well as several attorneys. But even as the statutory instrument was signed on the fourth, the regulations were released until days later. Attorney Audrey Matura says that based on provision in the constitution, she has been retained by several of the detainees, but has been unable to meet with her clients. There are also allegations coming out of the prison that some of the detainees have been denied visitation rights and have been placed in solitary confinement after being brutalized. Matura says that she wrote to the C.E.O. at Kolbe, Virgilio Murillo and will ask Justices of the Peace to exercise their powers. Matura also says that fourteen days after the proclamation, she’s unaware if information on the detainees has been gazetted, as required.

 

Audrey Matura

Audrey Matura, Attorney

“By my calculation; that fourteen day would have been either yesterday or today depending if it is inclusive of the fourth or if it is exclusive of the fourth of September. So to give them a grace period, I say today. I have not seen the gazette, but it is mandatory because I believe that once it is gazetted, the onus is also not only on the attorneys, but the onus is on everybody involved in human rights including people who are justices of the peace who have the right to go to a prison or any place at the police station and go check on people. I, last Friday, went to the prison to see several clients and I was denied access to it. When I wrote a letter Mister Murillo telling him that these people under the constitution that there will be a tribunal that will be empanelled by the thirtieth day by the Chief Justice—that’s required by law under the constitution—and it says that these people are then entitled to counsel and they are entitled to have representation before this panel to see if their detention will continue. He then wrote me back a rude letter like to say it is until after the thirty days then I have right to see my clients. I disagree with that. I have received reports from prisoners within there, because they are entitled to their free calls, and they’ve related stories where some of these detainees have been brought in pepper sprayed and beaten and put in solitary confinement. I have names of some which I will not disclose at this time. One or two have been have been able to see their relatives, but some have been denied access to their relatives which causes then one to wonder how come some and some not. If they are indeed beaten, if you can indeed see scars and marks on them of course no prison authority will allow you to see them because then you will gather that data. And that is one of my concerns why I say someone needs to step in and the Justices of the Peace have that power to step in.”

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1 Response for “Attorney Audrey Matura Raises Further Questions on the State of Public Emergency”

  1. sillymatura says:

    silly audrey.either do ur job for d country or against it.u decide.or u only talk cause u wanna make money?? leave criminals there.who says its normal or humanly right to live as a gang society n terrorize people.let dem learn n if they no change sa ur own house n pikni dem wa rob, burglarize, and extort.

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