State brutality flourishes in conditions of silence
Stabroek News
February 18, 2002

Dear Editor,

The sight of a clearly injured Mark Benschop in the newspapers was not a comforting one. To date the police have not denied he and his lawyers' charge that he suffered these injuries while in their custody.

Coming soon after the assault on Mr. Sharma, all cannot be well. Did Mr. Benschop provoke his assailants?

If so, what could he have done to warrant such apparently extreme treatment? Those of us who have had similar experiences during a period that is supposed to be behind us know that such treatment is one of the prices one pays for being "politically brazen" in a country where dissent can be tantamount to treason.

I hope I am not wrong in concluding that Mr. Benschop's treatment has something to do with his outspokenness against the government. So even without knowing all that transpired at the police station, I raise my voice in solidarity with Mark. But where are the other voices in defense of civil liberty? State brutality flourishes in conditions of silence. Failure to speak up and speak out will only embolden the agents. This is about Benschop, but it is also about our collective security. A police state is not a stranger to Guyana.

Yours faithfully,

David Hinds