Sunday, September 1, 2013

Cubans allege sex abuse by Bahamian detention guards

MIAMI (CMC) – A Cuban family who arrived in the US from a migrant detention centre in the Bahamas has alleged that guards regularly beat some of the male inmates and sexually abused some of the women.

The Democracy Movement, a Miami group that has been helping undocumented migrants detained in Nassau, said one of the women repatriated from the centre to Cuba earlier this month was impregnated by a guard.

Ramón Saúl Sánchez, Democracy Movement head, who greeted the family on their arrival, said a 24-year-old woman repatriated from Nassau to Havana last week reported that she was six months pregnant.

The movement led a string of protests against the Bahamian government this summer after detainees at the Carmichael Road Detention Centre smuggled out cell phone images of inmates sewing their lips together in protest and an alleged guard kicking prisoners, according to the Miami Herald.

Randy Rodriguez, 31, his wife Misleidy Olivera, 30, and their two children were the first detainees to speak in person to reporters about conditions at the centre after they arrived in Miami on a flight from Nassau.

“That video is real, and after the video came the beatings” (by guards) as punishment for the negative publicity, said Rodriguez.

However, Bahamas Foreign Minister Fred Mitchell has said the video is a fake and that the allegations are under investigation.

“I wish to say that no one from the Bahamas government has admitted that there was any abuse of detainees by the Bahamas government,” he said in a statement.

The Bahamas repatriated 24 Cubans to Havana on August 16 and another eight on August 21, including several of the alleged victims of beatings and sexual abuse.

The Miami Herald said another 18 undocumented Cubans detained in the Bahamas will be allowed to fly to Panama, which has agreed to issue them “territorial asylum” while they try to arrange onward trips to the United States.
Marleine Bastien, Executive Director for Haitian Women of Miami, who joined Sánchez at the news conference, said for several years Haitians have also complained about how they were treated at the Carmichael Road centre.

Septer 01, 2013

Jamaica Observer