GHRA urges disciplinary action over leaking of nude photo of recaptured prisoner

The leaking of a nude photo of recaptured convict Mark Royden Williams is of grave concern and those responsible for it going viral ought to be disciplined, President of the Guyana Human Rights Association (GHRA) Mike McCormack says.

“The issue of how the photo found its way onto social media should not be taken lightly and those responsible should be seriously disciplined,” McCormack told Stabroek News.

A nude photograph of Williams, with his hands handcuffed and feet shackled, was posted on Facebook on Tuesday. In the photo, Williams is seen holding a bottle of water over his privates. It is unclear when the photograph was taken.

McCormack told Stabroek News that GHRA has no issue with the examination of Williams in his naked state, once it is the standard procedure and is done in a suitable environment which would not cause any embarrassment.

Mark Royden Williams

He stressed that if authorities have to examine a prisoner when he first enters the prison environment to ensure the safety of other prisoners and prison officials, “there is no difficulty once it is carried out in a respectful way.”

McCormack stated that the stripping of Williams, who is a high profile prisoner, ought not to be seen as a violation.

“Stripping is not something we would take issue with… If the photo is not routine, it should not have been done unless there was some special reason,” he stressed.

However, he stressed that GHRA has an issue with the photo reaching social media. McCormack stressed the importance of those responsible being held accountable for their actions to send a message that such behaviour is not only wrong but will not be tolerated.

He said that if serious disciplinary action is not taken, leaking of such photos can become “routine” and anyone could become vulnerable.

Acting Prisons Director Gladwin Samuels told Stabroek News on Wednesday night that four suspects have been identified.

“The investigation is active. There are suspects. [We are] working to narrow [them] down,” he said.

Samuels made it clear that the photograph was intended for updating records pertaining to identification marks. Williams has several tattoos.

“That for some strange reason was not respected, which resulted in the outward circulation of the restricted photo,” he said.

It was pointed out by observers that the photographing of his body should not require Williams to be in the pose that he was photographed in and the distribution of the photograph is a gross violation of his rights and offending of his dignity.

In 2009, a boy tortured in a police station was similarly photographed, most likely by his torturers, and the photograph was circulated.

The police force has also taken issue with the leaking of the photo, calling it unacceptable.

Guyana Police Force Public Relations Officer Shivpersaud Bacchus, in a statement hours after the photo appeared on Facebook, said even though the stripping of inmates is done for identification purposes, such as to document distinguishing features like tattoos, the leaking of the photo cannot be condoned.

Bacchus said the “grossly unethical, irresponsible and insensitive” act was committed within the prison environment during the period when Williams was being processed and prior to his placement in a cell.

Williams, known as ‘Smallie,’ was intercepted and recaptured at around 8pm on Monday by the police along the Weldaad, West Coast Berbice Public Road.

The police had said that at the time he was travelling in a public minibus. He was alone and unarmed.

He was said to be the mastermind of the July 9 unrest at the Camp Street Prison, during which the facility was devastated by a fire and a prison officer was killed. He was one of six prisoner who managed to escape.

Comments  

Windies arrive to kickstart qualification bid

HARARE, Zimbabwe, CMC – West Indies received a rousing welcome at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport here Sunday evening as they became the first team to arrive for the ICC World Cup Qualifiers starting next month.

Joint Services corporal held over armed robbery of prison officer

A corporal of the Joint Services and another male  have been taken into custody following an investigation into the alleged robbery under arms committed on a 43-year-old Chief Prison Officer which occurred about 01:00h yesterday on the  Soesdyke Public Road, EBD by four males, one of whom was armed with a knife.

Hunt continuing in T&T for ISIS cell members

(Trinidad Guardian) Networks of the ISIS cell in T&T which Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley referred to in Parliament are spread from Aranjuez, Charlieville and Enterprise to Rio Claro among other locations, a national security official has said.

Ramotar signed oil contract with CGX nearly identical to Exxon deal

Government yesterday released the Production Sharing Agreement (PSA) signed by the former Donald Ramotarled PPP/C administration with Canadian miner CGX Resources Inc, the terms of which appear to be almost identical to those of the much maligned 2016 agreement signed by the current administration with ExxonMobil’s local subsidiary and its partners.

Securing advances on oil revenues should be considered

Seeking advances on future revenue from ExxonMobil should be under discussion, according to United States-based Guyanese business professor and accountant Floyd Haynes, who says the benefits for a developing nation like ours are incalculable and can outweigh the disadvantages “I think it should be considered.

Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly.

We built stabroeknews.com using new technology. This makes our website faster, more feature rich and easier to use for 95% of our readers.
Unfortunately, your browser does not support some of these technologies. Click the button below and choose a modern browser to receive our intended user experience.

Update my browser now

×