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Threats made to T&T judiciary staff

PORT OF SPAIN — A police investigation has been launched into a series of threats made against High Court judge Mark Mohammed and several members of staff at the judiciary.

The threats came in the form of two letters that were delivered to Mohammed and the judiciary’s marshal office during the recently-concluded sedition trial of Jamaat-al-Muslimeen leader Yasin Abu Bakr. The first letter was delivered directly to Mohammed on July 13, by an attorney participating in the trial.

The letter was allegedly given to the attorney by the wife of a man now in remand while awaiting trial for murder and kidnapping charges. The exchange was allegedly captured on CCTV cameras positioned outside the High Court. The T&T Guardian was told that although the letter did not contain any explicit threats, it stated that if Bakr were not freed of the four criminal charges, there would be serious consequences.

The letter was also said to contain several Arabic verses and Islamic quotations. Almost three weeks after the first letter, the second one was delivered to the marshal’s offices at the Hall of Justice by a man who was reportedly wearing Muslim garb. After delivering the letter to a marshal in the office, sources said the messenger issued a verbal threat, warning that all of the court’s marshals should “fear for their lives”.

Both letters bore the letterhead of a Islamic group which is not known to be linked to Abu Bakr or his organisation. After the second threat, ASP Ajith Persad of the Criminal Investigation Department was summoned to the court to initiate an investigation. Persad has since been assigned as lead investigator of the threats. Attorneys who participated in the three-month trial, together with judicial support staff close to the case, are expected to be interviewed by investigators this week. (Guardian)

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