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Jun 27, 2016

Police Provide Little Clarity in Ahmad Detention

Fareed Ahmad

On Monday, June twentieth, Police rounded up nineteen members of the Ahmad family from six different homes in Hattieville. The homes were searched and documents, weapons and electronic items were seized by the Police. Interestingly, the family was released ten hours after without being informed of why they were detained in the first place. The weapons were returned, but not the electronic items. The family is Muslim and immediately questions started circulating – did their religion factor into the unexplained detention? And could a suspicion of a connection to terrorism be the reason behind the Ahmad family’s lockdown? Police have not been exactly forthcoming with details, but called a press conference this evening to deal specifically with that situation. In the end, it was a press briefing to inform the press that the Police could not reveal any information on the investigation. Special Branch head Marco Vidal would say only that they consider the information which led to the detention to be of a very serious nature.


Marco Vidal, Head, Special Branch

“For the past several months, Special Branch has been engaged in an investigation concerning information which we consider to be of a serious nature. I am not in a position to divulge the nature of that investigation; neither can I provide details of the investigation. But you will be aware that on Monday, the twentieth of June, we conducted searches at the residences of the Ahmad family and other persons. Items were taken from the search and these items are being returned to the owners as we speak. Certain allegations have been made in relation to the operation and the manner in which the searches were done. We can categorically state that the operation satisfied us and that we are satisfied that in fact the operation was done within the confines of the law and in a professional manner. We are also equally satisfied that we will be able to successfully refute, of the need arises, any challenges in regards to the propriety of the search.”


Marco Vidal


“One of the concerns though is that the family has represented itself as Islamic, as a Muslim family, and the information in the public has the taint of some kind of religious undertone or relation to terrorism. So if there could be something…I mean there are different reasons why you would carry out a search. It could be drug related, it could be terrorism related. Is there at least a general category or are we introducing a new category as it relates to some other religious or some other kind of category? And I think that is probably why the story had such an inflammatory nature.”


Marco Vidal

“Well let me say that we will not…I would never conduct any operation targeting any person because of their religion or ethnicity, for that matter. As I said, I cannot go into intricacies of the investigation. I can tell you generally, and I repeat, I can tell you generally, we have no confirmed reports in Belize of ISIS being involving directly with Belize. But as you may know that persons have been recruited by ISIS in parts of the Caribbean and we cannot be naïve to the fact that it can happen here in Belize or it could happen here in Belize.”

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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