A Hattieville family home was raided earlier this week and its occupants, the Ahmad family, held for hours at Racoon Street Police Station in Belize City, then released without explanation. Police did not take the firearms that the family held, but did hold all their personal electronic equipment and a copy of the Qur’an, the Muslim holy book. Senior police sources deny knowledge of the incident and culpability has been assigned to the Special Branch in what appears to be an attempt to investigate possible links between local Muslims to the terror networks of the Middle East – Al Qaeda and Islamic State. Officially, though, the story is that Special Branch is investigating a reported conspiracy to commit murder and damage to property. The Ahmad family plans to sue. On Wednesday, Williams explained what little he knows of the incident:
ACP Chester Williams, Officer Commanding Eastern Division(South)
” I am not aware of the complaints. I know on that day I was called by many people and I told them that I did not know about the situation and indeed I do not know. I was not here. If indeed the Qua’ran was taken away I am sure the police will return it to them because the police have no legal authority to take away their Qua’ran. That’s a part of their religion and I guess you’re trying to say that they are being discriminated upon based on their race and religion. I cannot speak to that because I do not know the circumstances of their detention, if they were indeed detained. I cannot give an opinion because I am not aware of the circumstances. The police have the legal authority to detain persons and to bring them in and interview them. Once it is done within the confines of the law then it is legal. I cannot speak particular circumstances because I do not know the facts.”
Williams added that as police headquarters, Raccoon Street is shared by branches of the Department including Special Branch and he was never informed that they were holding persons there.