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Concerns raised about random detention of persons under St. Catherine North state of emergency

Arlene Harrison Henry
 
Public Defender Arlene Harrison Henry has raised concern about the random detention of persons under the State of Public Emergency in the St. Catherine North Police Division.
 
She said some individuals are unfairly profiled by the security forces.
 
According to Mrs Harrison Henry, most of the persons detained are between the ages of 17 and 30 and from volatile commuties.
 
But more than that, she argued that it is unfair for the police to enter these men into a criminal database when they have already been cleared of any criminal involvement. 
 
"Where you have interviewed a young man and you have processed him and you are satisfied that, well, he really was on his way to work, I don't know that the police have any right to take his details; and it appears to be beyond unfortunate; it appears to be a gross violation," she contended. 
 
Based on reports, the Public Defender said more than 150 people have been detained since Sunday when the State of Public Emergency was imposed.
 
She told RJR News that several of the detainees remain in custody at the Tamarind Farm correctional facility. 
                                                     
A help desk has been established at Spanish Town police station to assist persons whose family members are in custody under the State of Public Emergency in the St. Catherine North Division.
 
In a statement, the Jamaica Constabulary Force Corporate Communications Unit said the facility was established to prevent the influx of persons at the Police Academy and Tamarind Farm correctional facility where processing of detainees are done.
 
SOE detainees in St. James 
 
In the meantime, the Public Defender has provided an update on persons who have been detained under the State of Emergency in St. James.
 
Mrs Harrison Henry disclosed that 1,230 people had been taken into custody up to Monday. 
 
She said 142 remain in custody. Some of these individuals have been charged for varying offences, ranging from murder to selling on the sidewalk to breaching the Petroleum Act. 
 
Some also were wanted persons in that there were warrants out for these persons and the police would, in any event, have had to go for them but the state of emergency would have made it much easier for these persons to be collected and brought back into custody," the Public Defender added. 
 


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