WASHINGTON (FinalCall.com) – In front of the Guyana Embassy, Attorney Martin McMahon announced he was filing suit against the country’s government on behalf of Abdul Akbar Muhammad.
“We are here to send a message about illegal and repressive tactics used by overseas governments against innocent, law abiding American Muslims,” he said. “We have filed a lawsuit seeking substantial damages in the amount of $15 million for our brother’s wrongful arrest and detention.”
“Brother Akbar is not going to pursue the ‘turn the other cheek’ attitude. He wants to make sure that his fellow American Muslims are not simply locked up based on some whimsical theory that police all over the world invent on far too many occasions.”
Mr. Akbar Muhammad, international representative of the Nation of Islam, was arrested May 19 in Georgetown, Guyana in the middle of the night on charges of terrorism and drug smuggling. Local police said they were contacted by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and told he was a terrorist, according to Mr. Muhammad.
“I felt it was erroneous, I felt that it was fake, so I said to the officer in charge, ‘You got a message from the CIA? Are you the CIA’s boys? They just call you and tell you I am a terrorist and you come and arrest me? I thought this was a sovereign country? Is the CIA running this country, or are you running it?’ He didn’t say anything,” recounted Mr. Muhammad.
The news of his arrest spread like wildfire internationally. His grandson saw it on the news in Florida.
Guyanese assistant police commissioner Seelal Persaud was quoted in several news articles as saying, “Based on the information we have, he is involved in drugs and terrorism.”
While detained, Mr. Muhammad called his representative in the U.S. Congress, William “Lacy” Clay Jr. (D-Mo.) and the U.S. Embassy in Guyana. Representatives immediately arrived to inform him that according to Guyanese law, an individual could be detained and jailed for up to 72 hours before officially being charged with a crime.
All that changed after a conference call between the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan and Guyana’s President Bharrat Jagdeo. The diplomatic wheels were in motion for his release. Further, a television station Mr. Muhammad had made an appearance on earlier in the week enlisted Attorney Nigel Hughes, one of the leading lawyers in Guyana, for legal assistance.
“I informed His Excellency that Brother Akbar has been my friend and companion for over 46 years and I can say with truth and certainty that he is as far away from drugs as the far planet Pluto is away from the sun and that is four billion six hundred million miles, and as far as terrorism–he would never come to any country to inspire such acts,” Minister Farrakhan told The Final Call.
“The president informed me that no man in his country would be charged with a crime and remain in prison who is innocent. I want to thank His Excellency and I am grateful for whatever he did in looking into the case.”
Within hours, Mr. Muhammad and the others arrested, including Phillip Muhammad, in connection with the bogus charges were released.
Mr. Muhammad and Atty. Hughes held a press conference outside of police headquarters in Guyana demanding a formal apology. Atty. Hughes called the arrests and detention “outrageous” and an “unjust claim from the beginning.”
President Jagdeo told Guyana’s Kaieteur News July 9 that his government would not offer any apology to Mr. Muhammad. Guyana’s president was quoted as saying law enforcement agencies had intelligence and information that something was being developed in Guyana. Some turned out to be true and three persons were charged with treason, he added.
“There are conflicting stories. That’s the problem,” said Mr. Muhammad. “The U.S. government has denied giving Guyana any information on me. This country (Guyana) has a history of detaining political opponents. Did the Guyana government just use the CIA’s name to do what they wanted to do?”
Guyana’s president insisted security forces must check out everything. “They arrested him; no one, excluding the president, is immune from being arrested,” President Jagdeo told reporters.
“Unfortunately Bro. Akbar’s reputation has been shattered worldwide because a lot of news articles repeated the lie that he supported terrorism and is a drug trafficker. Had they simply checked the facts, they would never have arrested him and he wouldn’t have been humiliated about these nefarious crimes,” said Mr. McMahon.
“Rather than simply walking away, he has put his money where his mouth is. As you all know, talk is cheap until you hire a lawyer. We’ve prepared a lawsuit with substantial damages requested. We hope, Insha’Allah, to see Brother Akbar receive the justice he deserves.”
Akbar Muhammad suing Guyana government (FCN, 07-26-2011)
Nation of Islam’s Akbar Muhammad released in Guyana after unjust detention, false charges (FCN, 05-24-2011)
The persecution of the righteous, and the protection of the faithful (FCN, 05-24-2011)
Black American Muslims speak out against bigotry, hypocrisy and intolerance (FCN, 09-07-2010)
Nation of Islam Targeted by Homeland Security (FCN, 12-24-2009)
Guyana’s PNCR wants”full public explanation” for visitors detention (Demerara Waves , 05-23-2011)
Guyana: History, Geography, Govenment & Culture (Infoplease)