Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Phone Call From a Sister on the Front Line, ie, the Nassau Courthouse

Listen. Here is an update on our sister Ruth Lubin. She is the woman I told you about in the fall of 2006 who was seized from the house she was living in by uniformed policemen who would not allow her to put on any clothes and who was detained in the public area of a Nassau police station for many hours in that state before being allowed to cover herself. Yesterday she called from the steps of court 10 where she had minutes before had to appear before Magistrate Guilliminia Archer on charges filed against her in this matter. Yes, charges were brought against Ruth for obscene language, disorderly behavior and resisting arrest. And this magistrate (is she on crack?) yesterday found Ruth guilty of all charges and exacted a $200 fine.

But this shameful ruling is just the latest human rights outrage for this young mother of two. She says she's been the victim of a campagne of harrasment from police ever since the horror of the first arrest. She says she has been arrested a shocking total of twelve more times, all of them relating to these same trumped-up rediculous charges. She says she's been threatened and verbally harrassed by the policeman in her community many times. She says she has been locked up over night on five different occasions because of this terrible experience, now become a nightmair that never ends. Yesterday morning's disgraceful court decision against Ruth is the latest blow. The magistrate detained Ruth after her ruling until her fine was paid.

What about the policemen accused by Ruth of detaining her in handcuffs and naked in the front office of the station? Ruth bravely told her story to a number of high ranking police officials at the time of her ordeal including the commissioner at the time, Farqharson, and never heard anything from them again. Ruth gave them the names and numbers of all the policemen involved in the attack against her. No public statement regarding the events of that Sunday morning in 2006 has ever been given by police or government in response to the grim, bestial treatment those officers inflicted upon a helpless, innocent woman. What kind of investigation has there been? What consequences have the uniformed perpetrators faced? Ruth had to pay $800 in additional legal fees to defend herself in this case. What payment have those hooligan policemen been made to make? None at all, as far as we can see. They have been allowed to continue as if nothing ever happened. And they have apparently been able to create a climate of protection and impunity for bad cops who use their power to terrorize instead of protect us.

Our sister Ruth is strong and brave. She got herself and her daughter out of the abusive household that made her vulnerable to the police attack. She got a job. She re-established supportive relationships with family members. And she has kept a detailed written account of every incident of police abuse and harrasment she has been the victim of from the first day to this. Because our gal is no fool, she's a writer, her own greatest advocate, and she has no intention of remaining a victim. She means to begin a letter writing campagne immediately asking for justice, ie , a real and independent official investigation into all reports of sexual violence committed against women detainees by Bahamian police.

I told Ruth I will help. Readers I assured her we would all stand with her. We begin by bearing witness to her story.


Anonymous said...


How can we help? For whom should I write?

Do you have the Police of Nassau contact?



Lynn Sweeting said...

Thank you Neuza for your support. I published some telephone numbers today.
Bright blessings

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