After spending three days in police custody, self-confessed “death squad” member Shawn Hinds was yesterday released on bail, without cooperating with the ranks regarding the revelations he made during a recent interview with HGPTV Nightly News.
Crime Chief Wendell Blanhum when contacted yesterday afternoon confirmed that Hinds was released earlier in the day on station bail and is to return today for further questioning. Stabroek News has since been told that the bail was set at $100, 000.
Blanhum had said in a previous interview that the man was not cooperating with ranks. It was reported that the man adopted this stance based on the advice of his attorney. Investiga-tors were largely focused on gathering more information on Hinds’ confession that he was a member of the “death squad”. When asked what the next available option is given that Hinds is not cooperating, Blanhum had said previously that “we (the police) will continue questioning him”.
Hinds during the interview had also alleged that the police were involved in the assassination of political activist and journalist Ronald Waddell and that he had gone to uplift weapons from CID Headquarters for use by members of the squad. The “death squad” based on what he said was responsible for the murders of criminals during the crime spree which gripped the country following the 2002 Mash Day jailbreak.
Asked about the review of the copy of the interview which was handed over by the TV station, Blanhum confirmed that a team of investigators from the Major Crime Investiga-tions Unit did look at the footage.
On Monday, about a week after being interviewed by Nightly News reporter Travis Chase, Hinds went to CID Head-quarters, Eve Leary in the company of attorney at law Nigel Hughes. He was immediately arrested.
Hinds made the decision to speak to the newscast over fears that attempts were being made to link him to the murder of political activist Courtney Crum-Ewing. Police have denied this saying that the man was wanted in connection with a different “serious offence”. Given the content of the interview police have also said that they want to gather more information from him about the things he had said and as such wanted him to turn himself in.
Hinds has also been identified as being an occupant of a “strange car” which was parked in the vicinity of the home of Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo about two weeks ago. Nagamootoo had told reporters that it was neighbours who identified Hinds and that the sighting was reported to the commissioner of police. It is unclear if the police have launched an investigation in this regard.
Nagamootoo had said too that a black vehicle was also spotted in the area as that car sped off and it has since been identified as belonging to a top official of the former government.
Government has made it clear that it will not be offering Hinds amnesty or protection in exchange for information.
However, former Speaker Ralph Ramkarran, writing on his Conversa-tion Tree blog over the weekend, said that the administration’s rejection of an amnesty—voiced by State Minister Joseph Harmon—before a request was made constituted interference in “the process of criminal investigation, in the prosecutorial process and in the pursuit of justice because it sends a message to the concerned agencies which need to work without oppressive messages of this kind.”
Both Harmon and public security minister Khemraj Ramjattan in defending government’s position have questioned whether a person who confesses to being engaged in unlawful activities should not be penalized. They both made it clear that given some of the confessions, Hinds will get nothing in exchange from the government for testifying.