Director of the Caribbean Center for Human Rights (CCHR) Denise Pitcher said the death of prisoner Emmanuel Joseph was cause for concern and called for a full investigation.
Joseph, 22, was arrested and charged in relation to the attempted murder of a prison officer at the Barataria home of Deputy Prisons Commissioner Sherwin Bruce on October 11.
The 49-year-old prison officer, who is assigned as a driver and bodyguard for Bruce, was shot in his upper and lower right arm during the attack. A minor was also injured.
A media release from the prison service on Saturday stated that Joseph complained of chest pains last Friday and was taken to the Arima Health Facility, where he was declared dead.
However, an autopsy on Thursday afternoon found that Joseph died of shock and haemorrhage, poly-trauma and blunt force trauma.
Pitcher, in a GML interview, recalled the death of suspect Joel Belcon in 2021 and warned that the failure of the authorities to investigate and charge those responsible could further lower the public’s perception of the criminal justice system.
Belcon and Andrew Morris were suspects in the kidnapping and murder of Arima court clerk Andrea Bharatt. They both died while in police custody.
Pitcher said> “This incident reinforces the belief in the public of our weak justice system. The onus is on the Government to ensure that a proper and thorough investigation is done to restore the public’s trust of the justice system. The public’s trust in the justice system is already very fragile given the spate of crime in Trinidad and Tobago.”
Referring to social media comments from some who seemed to celebrate Joseph’s death, she said while he was arrested for a crime, he was entitled to due process and humane treatment.