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Former BVI prosecutor writes letter to Governor in Walwyn’s defense

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A section of the perimeter wall outside Elmore Stoutt High School in Road Town. (Photo by BVI News)

Former BVI police prosecutor Jefferson Knight has written a letter addressed to Governor John Rankin stating that the recent arrest and charge of former Education Minister Myron Walwyn was unlawful because it violated a few local laws in the BVI.

Walwyn was recently arrested and charged with Breach of Trust By a Public Officer. This comes months after the former legislator gave a statement to the Commission of Inquiry (COI), about his role in the controversial Elmore Stoutt High School Wall project, which reportedly suffered major cost overruns some years ago.

In his letter to Governor Rankin, Knight stated that, “the procedure which led to the arrest, detention, and charge of the Honourable Mr Myron Walwyn is fundamentally wrong under section 15 and 16 of the BVI Constitution, which guarantee fundamental rights and freedoms of an individual suspected of committing a criminal offence under the law of the BVI and under the criminal justice system of the BVI and of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court.”

Knight argued that Walwyn’s arrest was unlawful because section 16 of the BVI’s Commission of Inquiry Act explicitly states that criminal charges shouldn’t be brought against persons based on testimonies they give to a Commission of Inquiry.

It is not clear whether Walwyn’s charge was based on his testimony before the COI.

COI has no right to order criminal investigations

Knight also said he believes the COI Commissioner has no legal right to order investigations against persons who testify before the Commission.

“In my legal opinion, the recommendations of the COI’s Commissioner to conduct criminal investigations into the Elmore Stoutt High School wall project, which have now led to criminal prosecution, is in breach and in contravention of section 16 of the COI Act, and in breach and in contravention of section 15 and 16 of the BVI Constitution,” Knight’s letter said.

He added: “The Commissioner of the COI has no jurisdiction under the COI Act to identify criminal conduct by public officials and public officers in governance and in the public service of the Crown and to recommend, criminal investigations and criminal prosecution, into such conduct.”

Before Walwyn appeared before the COI, the ESHS perimeter wall project was investigated by the former Police Commissioner Michael Matthews and the RVIPF. However, no charges were laid then and the police said the file was handed over the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) for further investigation.

No legal right to hand over file to DPP?

Knight said the Police Commissioner could have started a case against Walwyn but had no legal right to hand the matter over to the DPP.

“Parliament did not enact any provision under the Police Act for the Commissioner of Police to submit to the DPP a case file relating to a criminal investigation,” he argued.

Knight also said section 59 of the BVI constitution does not give the DPP the legal right to take over “a criminal investigation from the Commissioner of Police.”

The case against Walwyn has sparked much public debate, especially after a statement the former Education Minister issued shortly after his arrest. Many say Walwyn had a right to issue a letter defending himself, while others believe he may have jeopardised the case being brought against him.

The DPP has also condemned the statement, calling it an attempt to influence the potential jurors who might hear the case.

Copyright 2022 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.


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Iran: Almost Three Months of Anti-hijab Protests

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The death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini following her arrest and alleged assault by Iran’s notorious morality police almost three months ago sparked the biggest protests in the Iranian republic in years.

Women and girls have led the charge against compulsory headscarves.

A general in Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps has said more than 300 people, including security force members, lost their lives in the protests, AFP reported.

The Oslo-based Iran Human Rights group gives a toll of at least 448 people “killed by security forces”.

Here is a timeline of the events:

– Sept. 13: Amini’s arrest –

Amini is visiting Tehran with her family when she is detained by the Gasht-e Ershad (Guidance Patrol), the police unit that enforces strict dress rules for women, including the mandatory hijab or headscarf.

She is rushed to hospital later that day. Police claim she “suddenly suffered a heart problem”. CCTV footage from the police station appears to show her collapsing.

– Sept. 16: death –

After three days in a coma, Amini is declared dead.

Rights activists say she suffered a fatal blow to the head while in custody, a claim echoed by a relative of Amini living in Iraq, but denied by officials.

President Ebrahim Raisi orders an inquiry.

– Sept. 17: first protests –

Amini is buried in her hometown of Saqez in Kurdistan province of northwest Iran. Police use tear gas after some residents demonstrate.

In the following days, the hashtag #Masha_Amini clocks up more than one million tweets, including many videos of Iranian women cutting their hair to protest her death.

Demonstrations break out at several universities in Tehran.

– Sept. 20: first deaths –

Three people are reported killed during protests in Kurdistan province.

Videos posted on social media show women removing their veils and chanting “Woman, life, freedom” or “Death to the dictator”, a slogan directed at Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader.

– Sept. 22: social media muzzled –

Iran blocks access to Instagram and WhatsApp, the two platforms most widely used in Iran. It imposes drastic restrictions on internet access.

The US places the morality police on its sanctions blacklist.

– Sept. 23: counter-demonstrations –

Thousands take part in pro-hijab counter-demonstrations in Tehran and other cities, in response to a call from the authorities.

On September 25, Raisi vows “decisive action” to end the anti-hijab protests. A day later, more than 1,200 protesters are arrested.

– Oct. 3: Khamenei accuses US –

Khamenei accuses arch-foes the United States and Israel of fomenting the unrest.

– Oct. 8: death by illness –

An official medical report concludes Amini’s death was caused by illness, due to “surgery for a brain tumor at the age of eight”, and not police brutality.

Activists hack a state television live news broadcast, superimposing crosshairs and flames over an image of Khamenei.

– Oct. 15: prison blaze –

A fire erupts during clashes at Tehran’s notorious Evin prison, where hundreds of those detained during the demonstrations are being held.

The blaze kills eight inmates, according to authorities.

– Oct. 26: mass rally in Amini’s hometown –

Crowds pour into Amini’s hometown to pay tribute at her grave to mark the end of the traditional 40-day period of mourning.

As protests break out, Iranian security forces open fire on the crowd.

– Nov. 13: first death sentence –

A Tehran court hands down the first death sentence over the protests to a demonstrator accused of “corruption on earth”, one of the most serious categories of crimes in Iranian law.

– Nov. 15: strike –

Protesters hold strikes and demonstrations to mark three years since a deadly crackdown on unrest sparked by a fuel price hike in 2019 — the last time Iranians took to the streets in large numbers.

– Dec. 4: morality police scrapped

“Morality police have nothing to do with the judiciary and have been abolished,” Attorney General Mohammad Jafar Montazeri is quoted as saying by the ISNA news agency.





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Iran abolishes morality police | Daily Express Online

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Iran abolishes morality police

Published on: Monday, December 05, 2022

By: AFP

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Iranian policemen and women stand guard as they prepare to start a crackdown to  enforce Islamic dress code at a police station in the capital Tehran, in July of 2007.

Iranian policemen and women stand guard as they prepare to start a crackdown to enforce Islamic dress code at a police station in the capital Tehran, in July of 2007.

TEHRAN: Iran has scrapped its morality police after more than two months of protests triggered by the arrest of Mahsa Amini for allegedly violating the country’s strict female dress code, local media said Sunday.Women-led protests, labelled “riots” by the authorities, have swept Iran since the 22-year-old Iranian of Kurdish origin died in custody on September 16, three days after her arrest by the morality police in Tehran.
Demonstrators have burned their mandatory hijab head coverings and shouted anti-government slogans, and since Amini’s death, a growing number of women have failed to wear the hijab, particularly in parts of Tehran.

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“Morality police have nothing to do with the judiciary and have been abolished”, Attorney General Mohammad Jafar Montazeri was quoted as saying by the ISNA news agency.
His comment came at a religious conference where he responded to a participant who asked “why the morality police were being shut down”, the report said.
Since the 1979 Islamic Revolution that overthrew Iran’s US-backed monarchy, there has been some kind of official monitoring of the strict dress code for both men and women.
But under hardline president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the morality police—known formally as the Gasht-e Ershad or “Guidance Patrol”—was established to “spread the culture of modesty and hijab”.  
The units were set up by Iran’s Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution, which is today headed by President Ebrahim Raisi.
They began their patrols in 2006 to enforce the dress code which also requires women to wear long clothes and forbids shorts, ripped jeans and other clothes deemed immodest.
The announcement of the units’ abolition came a day after Montazeri said “both parliament and the judiciary are working” on the issue of whether the law requiring women to cover their heads needs to be changed.
Raisi said in televised comments Saturday that Iran’s republican and Islamic foundations were constitutionally entrenched “but there are methods of implementing the constitution that can be flexible”. 
The hijab became mandatory in 1983.

Morality police officers initially issued warnings before starting to crack down and arrest women 15 years ago.
The squads were usually made up of men in green uniforms and women clad in black chadors, garments that cover their heads and upper bodies. 
The role of the units evolved, but has always been controversial even among candidates running for the presidency.
Clothing norms gradually changed, especially under former moderate president Hassan Rouhani, when it became commonplace to see women in tight jeans with loose, colourful headscarves.
But in July this year his successor, the ultra-conservative Raisi, called for the mobilisation of “all state institutions to enforce the headscarf law”.
Raisi at the time charged that “the enemies of Iran and Islam have targeted the cultural and religious values of society by spreading corruption”.
Iran’s regional rival Saudi Arabia also employed morality police to enforce female dress codes and other rules of behaviour. Since 2016 the force there has been sidelined in a push by the Sunni Muslim kingdom to shake off its austere image.
In September, the Union of Islamic Iran People Party, the country’s main reformist party, called for the hijab law to be rescinded.
The party, created by relatives of former reformist president Mohammad Khatami, demands authorities “prepare the legal elements paving the way for the cancellation of the mandatory hijab law”.

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As recently as Saturday it also called for the Islamic republic to “officially announce the end of the activities of the morality police” and “allow peaceful demonstrations”.
Iran accuses its enemy the United States and its allies, including Britain and Israel, and Kurdish groups based outside the country, of fomenting the street protests.
More than 300 people have been killed in the unrest, including dozens of security force members, an Iranian general said on Monday.
Oslo-based non-government organisation Iran Human Rights on Tuesday said at least 448 people had been “killed by security forces in the ongoing nationwide protests”.
Thousands of people have been arrested, including prominent Iranian actors and footballers.
Among them was the actor Hengameh Ghaziani, detained last month. She had published on Instagram a video of herself removing her head covering. She was later freed on bail, Iranian news agencies reported.
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Pune PMC News | PMC’s inaction over corruption of millions of…

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Pune : Policenama online Pune PMC News | Doctors were gods for common people during the corona epidemic. Considering the conditions under which the doctors worked, it is not an exaggeration to make such a comparison. But as the good side of human nature came to the fore during this period, society also saw the bad side as well. It is still visible. A big scam has come to light in the case of ‘Rapid Antigen Kit’ received by the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) from the government during the COVID pandemic in Pune. (Pune PMC News)

 

A shocking case has come to light at PMC’s Dr. Arvind Bartakke Hospital, Warje. 60 to 80 percent of the 18,500 test kits given at the swab center in this hospital were not used for the patients but were sold out. Also, it has been revealed that over 11,000 bogus patients have been registered instead of needy patients and the phone numbers of doctors and staff of the centre have been registered instead of the patients so as not to send SMS to them. This is a scam worth Rs 34 lakhs, the preliminary investigation of Warje Malwadi Police has revealed that doctors and staff of the centre were involved in this scam. The police have given a letter to the municipal corporation in this regard. However, according to the complainant, this amount could be as high as Rs 80 to Rs 90 lakh. (Pune PMC News)

 

The then Medical Officer of Bartakke Hospital Dr Satish Kolsure has exposed this corruption. He complained in this regard and 32 other places to the police. The entire incident took place between the months of January and December 2021. According to the registered complaint, Regional Medical Officer of Warje Karve Nagar Regional Office Dr Aruna Tarde, the then head of swab centre on contract basis Dr Hrishikesh Gardi as well as health head of the municipal corporation Dr. Ashish Bharti have been accused of being involved in this scam. The matter has been proved in the police investigation.

 

The matter has been investigated by the then sub-inspector Sonali Kathle of Warje police station. According to the investigation, 18,500 rapid tests were conducted in Bartakke Hospital between January and December 2021. Out of them, 165 persons were contacted and only 18 of them agreed to have checked at this center, 37 persons were not contacted and 9 persons did not pick up the phone making 64 persons. Assuming that these 64 people were tested, the police subtracted 64 from 165 and 101 i.e. 61 percent of the records were found to be bogus in the police investigation.

 

Using available information that 61 out of total 18,500 rapid tests are conducted at Bartakke Hospital, according to the percentage, it is possible that 11,324 bogus entries have been made.

 

Accordingly, the price of each kit is Rs 300 thus the total fraud is of Rs. 33.97 lakh, police report revealed. Along with this, the police have recorded the statements of 33 staff of the hospital.

 

Out of them, mobile numbers of 23 people have been used for bogus tests.
The police stated that the complaint made by Dr Kolsure is substantial and the PMC has been cheated. Also, this is a serious incident and a case should be registered against this after a thorough investigation, a report saying this has already been sent by Warje Police Station Senior Police Inspector DS Hake to Municipal Commissioner Vikram Kumar, Chief of Health Dr Ashish Bharti on September 27.

 

However, even after two months, no action has been taken by the health department.

 

 

Join our Telegramfacebook page and Twitter for every update

 

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