Miami Group Notes “Improved Conditions” At Detention Centre
The Bahama Journal:
Miami-based human rights group members, who have launched relentless attacks on The Bahamas following allegations that Cubans were abused at the Carmichael Road Detention Centre, say detainees are reporting “improved conditions” at the facility.
Democracy Movement Leader, Ramon Saul Sanchez said over the past three months he has heard nothing but bad things from Cubans detained at the detention centre, but since news broke of alleged beatings and mistreatment, the remaining detainees have reported that their situation has improved.
“We’re not getting complaints of any mistreatment. In fact, they say they are treating them better in the detention centre itself,” he said.
“However, some [detainees] in the high security of the prison [are complaining that the conditions] are not proper for someone not charged of a crime. The environment is bad for them. They are saying that although the water is very bad and can’t be consumed the treatment is better on the part of the guards.”
Last week, Democracy Movement held a string of interviews with Cuban and other former detainees to hear their stories of alleged abuse and mistreatment in The Bahamas and elsewhere in the world.
Testimonies came from Mauricio Valdez and Randy Rodriguez who were being held at Her Majesty’s Prisons (HMP) and who were granted asylum in the United States last week.
According to Mr. Sanchez, the men noted that they were not allowed to shower for 15 days while at HMP and that they had to urinate and defecate in a slop bucket that was only taken out every two days.
Now that those two men are in the United States Mr. Sanchez said he is more concerned about the Cubans who were left in The Bahamas, but he noted that based on what he has heard so far things at the centre are getting better.
Even though that may be the case, the Democracy Movement spokesperson said they will not stop their protests until the government releases the full details of investigations into alleged abuse at the detention centre.
An alleged report, which was leaked last week, noted that at least five RBDF officers admitted to abusing and beating the detainees on several instances.
Government officials have maintained that the investigation into abuse allegations is not complete.
Allegations of sexual and mental abuse by the officers were also levied by some detainees, but Mr. Sanchez said this is just the tip of the iceberg and said his group will not stop until the full report is released.
“We want to refocus our effort in demanding from the Bahamian government to disclose the investigation,” he said. “We also want them to make available to the press, those [Cubans who] are still detained in The Bahamas and somehow demand from the Cuban government to make available the victims [who were] sent back to Cuba, so that all their testimonies can be obtained. We need to know what happened to them.
“The results have to be made public and the investigators must have no restraint in that.”
Mr. Sanchez said he is hoping that the Bahamian government finally agrees to sit down and talk with them to clear the air on this issue once and for all.
But in the meantime he said the group has delivered testimonies from alleged victims to The Bahamas Consulate Office in Miami, Florida.
He said the group is still waiting to have a meeting with Foreign Affairs Minister Fred Mitchell.
03 September, 2013