BY INDARJIT SEURAJ
Three more charges have been slapped on Jamaat al Muslimeen leader Yasin Abu Bakr. This time, he faces arms and ammunitions charges arising out of Thursday's police raid at the Jamaat's Mucurapo Road compound.
Bakr stood before Chief Magistrate Sherman Mc Nicolls for the second time in as many days, alongside Oluyemi Abdool Basit, 22, and Taheer Ali, 19, charged with the unlawful possession of a firearm (a rifle), the unlawful possession of 569 rounds of ammunition and the unlawful possession of a prohibited weapon (a hand grenade).
The charges come two days after Bakr, 64, was charged with one count of sedition and three counts of incitement, arising out of statements he made last week Friday in an Eid sermon at his mosque on Mucurapo Road, St James.
Once again, Bakr was denied bail—for the same reasons given when he was denied bail on Thursday, Mc Nicolls said.
"The application for bail for accused number one (Bakr) is refused for the very same reasons as yesterday," he said.
He also denied bail to Basit and Ali, both of Old Train Road, Cumuto.
Representing the State, Douglas Mendes, SC, who leads Dana Seetahal, objected to bail for Bakr on the basis of his submissions on Thursday, and objected to bail for the other two accused as they had not yet been traced.
In response, Bakr's attorney, Wayne Sturge, asked Mc Nicolls to consider the strength of the evidence of his having committed this offence.
No one was present when the search was carried out on Thursday, he explained, questioning the integrity of the police.
"There have been several instances of the police not acting with integrity in the past," Sturge said.
He made reference to the $800 million drug bust at Monos Island on August 23, when a quantity of arms and ammunition were also seized from a house, yet the owners were not charged.
"Unless there is a law which applies to Imam Yasin Abu Bakr and another for others, of the white community," Sturge said, "I would ask that he be treated in the same manner as the owners of that fancy house on Monos Island, where there was the biggest drug bust in our history.
"We are asking for equality before the law," Sturge said.
In response, Mendes said the police would have very good reasons why people were not charged.
Meanwhile, attorney for Basit and Ali, Leon Gookool, complained that his clients' tracing was not done, although they were arrested on Thursday.
He said they had no prior convictions, and were "virgins" to the court.
The defence also served notice of its intention to object to Seetahal's continued participation in the matter.
Bakr will reappear on November 17, while the other accused will return on Monday to address their bail applications.
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