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Policeman allegedly involved in baton-sodomy of detainee under close arrest

Colwyn Harding (Kaieteur News photo)

As preparations begin for protests in London and Georgetown against police brutality, a police constable who allegedly ruptured the anus and intestines of a detainee with a baton remained under close arrest, 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 Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC). He cannot defecate normally and so requires colostomy bags to collect his faeces through an incision.

Harding’s lawyer, Nigel Hughes, has been instructed to demand GUY$100 million in compensation for the injuries sustained on November 15, 2013 when he was arrested at a house at Timehri North. Police were searching for stolen items.

The man alleged that he was badly beaten and sodomised by a Constable in the presence of senior officers. He accused the Constable of placing a condom on a wooden baton and inserting it in his anus. As a result, he said, his intestines have been badly disfigured.

The man said that while he had been grimacing in pain and screaming, the Constable placed a panty in his mouth.

Harding was subsequently prosecuted for assaulting the Constable and placed on GUY$50,000 bail. The Attorney-at-Law eventually succeeded in having the man released from police custody on his own recognisance because he cannot afford to post the bail.

Already sparking outrage on Social Media, Harding’s “torture” has triggered plans to hold protests outside the GPHC and the Guyana High Commission in London.

The vigil outside the GPHC on Lamaha Street between East and Thomas Streets is planned for Wednesday at 4 PM.

In London, there will be a picket exercise outside the Guyanese diplomatic mission on Friday from 1:30 to 2:30 PM calling for an end to police brutality in Guyana.

The opposition coalition A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) on Wednesday joined the Alliance For Change (AFC) in strongly condemning the police brutality that was meted out to Harding.  APNU called for a thorough probe that is not controlled by the police force into the matter. “APNU calls for an independent inquiry into this matter. Further, the Partnership demands that the Peoples Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) administration immediately institute measures for real reform in the training of ranks of the Guyana Police Force.”

UK-based Guyanese are also pointing to the recent history of police brutality. It includes the torture of a 14 year old boy  who was burnt with a flammable substance to the genital Area and held in a cell for four days without medical treatment, the shooting of unarmed protesters in Linden killing three and wounding 20 and the shooting of an unarmed school boy in the school playground by police.

APNU used the opportunity to once again registers its lack of confidence in the  ability of Home Affairs Minister, Clement Rohee to manage the security sector and more importantly the Guyana Police Force.

AFC has called for the immediate resignation of Rohee and Police Commissioner, Leroy Brummel.