WPA activist charged in connection with call to kill President

Last Updated on Friday, 31 May 2024, 0:03 by Writer

Mr Kidackie Amsterdam (left) shortly after bail was posted and his passport was lodged. At right is WPA Executive Member, Professor David Hinds.

Working People’s Alliance (WPA) executive member, Kidackie Amsterdam was Thursday charged under the Cybercrime Act with using a computer system to encourage or incite persons to commit a criminal offence against the President of Guyana

Kidackie Amsterdam, 46, of Buxton, East Coast Demerara pleaded not guilty to the charge. City Magistrate, Faith McGusty granted the accused GY$200,000 bail and ordered him to return to court on June 10 for statements. He was also required to lodge his passport, with the proviso that he could apply to the court for permission to travel overseas if necessary.

If convicted, Mr Amsterdam could be imprisoned for five years.

Defence Lawyer, Nigel Hughes related that Police Legal Adviser Mandel Moore told the court that someone called into Mr Amsterdam’s Facebook Live programme and said that the President was among four persons who should be gotten rid off. The prosecutor also reportedly told the court that as the caller went off , Mr Amsterdam issued a disclaimer saying that violence should not be allowed but minutes later said that there were some politicians that we should see the back of.

Police said Mr Amsterdam is expected to face “additional charges” but provided no details.

When asked whether efforts were being made to locate the actual caller to Mr Amsterdam’s Facebook programme, Buxton Morning Time, a Guyana Police Force spokesman would only say that the probe was ongoing.

The lawyer told reporters that he believed that Mr Amsterdam “distanced himself from the sentiments that were expressed.” “This seems to me to be lot of overreach by the prosecution and it brings into question whether we should have a Cyber Crime Act like this. This is clearly such an affront to freedom of speech,” he said.

Mr Hughes said his client was taken to court without any notification to his lawyer. The lawyer said he went to court only after the Magistrate asked Mr Amsterdam whether he had legal representation and he was informed that his client was at court.

Police released a video with a caller naming the President and four other persons who should be killed. However, interim hosts of Buxton Morning Time, Mark Benschop and Professor David Hinds played a longer segment in which Mr Amsterdam is heard saying, “I don’t necessarily endorse the promotion of violence but I do subscribe to the fact that Guyana could very well be a better place if we see the backs of some of these politicians.”