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Dec 24, 2009

Police accused of abusing fourteen year old in custody

Story PictureEarlier today a minor reported to his mother that he had been physically and sexually abused while in police custody. It’s a serious allegation against the Belmopan police who were holding the fourteen year old boy for a robbery that allegedly occurred at Cardinal Store in Belmopan on Wednesday. The child was kept in custody overnight and the mother learnt of his detention through a friend who called to inform her. The Belmopan woman claims that she objected to an ID parade in Belmopan and that the boy was then transferred to Belize City and she was not allowed to accompany him. This afternoon we caught up with her at the Queen Street Police Station while she was accompanied by two attorneys, Arthur Saldivar and Dickey Bradley. The mother, who cannot appear on camera to protect her son’s identity, complained to News Five that her son had been beaten and sexually violated. Just as we were conducting the interview the child was whisked away in a police vehicle and Officer Commanding the Crimes Investigations Branch, Superintendent Julio Valdez, refused to give us an interview about the allegations.

Voice of Aggrieved Mother
“Yesterday about two o’clock, one o’clock so—I noh even sure weh time exactly dehn pick ah up. Wah lee bwai come and tell me dat dehn have ah dah station. I gone ova deh. Dehn seh dat dehn have ah pan investigation.”

Marion Ali
“This is in Belmopan?”

Voice of Aggrieved Mother
“In Belmopan. I ask dehn how come deh noh call me and he dah wah minor. Dehn ask me how come I find out. I tell dehn cause somebody come tell me and dehn seh oh well. So deh deh till bout after three and I gone home and come back eena di night. Dehn noh even tell me dat dehn beat my son yet…”

Marion Ali
“What did they hold him for?”

Voice of Aggrieved Mother
“Fi wah burglary or robbery weh happen dah Cardinal Store bout one o’clock. When I gone di night and I si ah, as I get eena di room ih I cry and ih seh how di police dehn beat up ah, dehn box up ah.”

Marion Ali
“Dis was at Belmopan police Station.”

Voice of Aggrieved Mother
“Belmopan Police Station. Deh bring he down dah Belize seh dehn come bring ah fi wah ID parade. I tell dehn I against the I.D. parade cause he already mek wah statement stating weh pah he mi deh at dat time, who house and di person come een come give wah statement. So I noh si why.”

Marion Ali
“Why did they bring him to Belize City if the incident was in Belmopan?”

Voice of Aggrieved Mother
“I have no idea. Dat’s why I call dah bwai cause I have no idea. And when I come dehn noh want talk to me. Dehn bring he down by ihself. Dehn tell me ketch di bus and come and he dah wah minor. I supposed to mi ride wid my son mek dehn noh abuse ah no more. Dis morning again I gone dah station. Ih come out di cry and seh ma dehn just beat me again. I tell di police please tell yoh officers stop knock mi son. Ih seh nobody noh di knock he, dis dat, dat, dat.”

Marion Ali
“You observed any bruises?”

Voice of Aggrieved Mother
“I si ih face but I noh really check ah good because I di ask fi ker ah dah Medical but dehn noh ker ah yet because dehn noh give me no paper or nothing yet fi ker ah.”

Marion Ali
“What did you observe?”

Voice of Aggrieved Mother
“Ih jaw swell up and thing. Otherwise, I noh check ih body or nothing yet.”

Marion Ali
“Have you asked to talk to any of the senior officers?”

Voice of Aggrieved Mother
“Yes, we talk to a senior officer and dah dat’s why we end up di gone een deh and si ah and thing.”

Marion Ali
“What has he told you?”

Voice of Aggrieved Mother
“Well, he mi di talk to di lawyers and thing and what’s not.”

Arthur Saldivar, Attorney for Abuse Victim
“They, the family knew where the child was at the time that he is being accused of doing the act that has been alleged. So on that basis and that basis alone, the ID parade was refused or consent was not given for it to be done in Belmopan. Despite that refusal or objection to the ID parade, the police saw it fit to bring the young man to Belize City. Upon arriving and upon getting access to the client, he explained to myself and his mother that he was abused. The physical signs that I was able to observer were the bruises on his jaw. His jaw was severely swollen and he complained of other liberties that were taken of him.”

Marion Ali
“Do you care to go into detail?”

Arthur Saldivar
“Well, we had requested a medico legal form and investigation of those allegations made by him and he—no confirmation at this point—except to say that they are of a grave and severe nature, one which no child should be subjected to especially in police custody.”

Marion Ali
“Sexual?”

Arthur Saldivar
“I’m not at liberty to say but it may be.

Marion Ali
“He is alleging sexual?”

Arthur Saldivar
“Yes, he’s inferring such.”

Marion Ali
“So you’re contemplating what then?”

Arthur Saldivar
“At this point, having heard that and considering what is transpiring now, there is the possibility that we are looking at a situation where police brutality—well, certainly there’s evidence of police brutality against a minor.”

Marion Ali
“So will it be against the department or officer/officers who allegedly committed this?”

Arthur Saldivar
“Well, Marion, we are here now for the past couple hours, two hours more or less. My client was here, he was spirited away without us being informed and in fact you were able to see that on your own. This is again a gross miscarriage and abuse; it has to be both because at this particular point they cannot say that the police officers were acting on a frolic of their own. They were acting under the guidance of the police department. In fact, there are senior officers here.”

Up to late this evening, the child remained in custody.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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