Reeaz Khan’s saga

Hamid gives contrasting reports

… Stabroek News refuses to verify
Kaieteur News

June 4, 2004

Related Links: Articles on abducted 13 year old
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Bibi Shameeza Hamid, the mother of the 13-year-old at the centre of the Reeaz Khan saga, was either dishonest or was led to tell an untruth by Stabroek News when she denied talking to Kaieteur News.

In its Wednesday issue, Stabroek News reported that Bibi Hamid said, “she had an interview with Prime News, and at that interview an individual asked her several questions and the answers she gave were the ones she saw in (Kaieteur News).

However, reporters at Prime News said that when Bibi Hamid turned up for the interview, she was informed that Kaieteur News would be sharing the interview. Hamid said that she had no objection and actually waited for the visit by the Kaieteur News reporters.

Adam Harris, who conducted the interview for Prime News, said that because the Kaieteur News reporters were slow in turning up, he started the interview. During the interview, two reporters from Kaieteur News, Andrew Richards and Michael Benjamin, turned up.

They identified themselves and later proceeded to interview Bibi Hamid, who responded to their questions. Richards asked her about reports of abuse suffered by her daughter, and about her daughter being born in Venezuela. He also asked her about the girl’s father, who Hamid said, was in Caracas and that despite her efforts she could not contact him.

Benjamin asked, among other things, about the likelihood of Reeaz Khan holding her daughter by force. To this question, Bibi Hamid said that her daughter was insistent that she wanted to stay with Khan and refused to leave.

Stabroek News refused to contact Kaieteur News and Prime News to verify the woman’s claims that Kaieteur News reporters did not interview her.

That interview was recorded and broadcast last night on Channel Nine. It showed the Kaieteur News reporters in the studios during the interview and had them asking questions of the woman.

During the interview with Kaieteur News and Prime News, when asked about the number of the vehicle that whisked her daughter away Saturday night, the woman stated PEE 9269. This number was different from the number she had given to Stabroek News—PCC 3725.

When confronted, she insisted that she had many numbers written down on a piece of paper and that she gave Stabroek News the wrong number.

Stabroek News, in its rush to tell the woman’s story, ignored the many irregularities in the woman’s story on many occasions. That newspaper again declined to call either Kaieteur News or Prime News.

In an earlier interview with Stabroek News, Bibi Hamid denied ever dining with Reeaz Khan. This later turned out to be a lie that was exposed when Kaieteur News published photographs of the woman and her daughter at dinner with Khan and later, at a social function at the home of one of Khan’s relatives. She had also denied to Stabroek News that she ever stayed at Khan’s home. “They are all lies,” she told Stabroek News.

When confronted with photographic evidence, she later admitted to spending a night with her daughter at Khan’s home.

Meanwhile, the Guyana Human Rights Association has denied that it told Kaieteur News that since its President Mike McCormack had not spoken to Khan or Hamid in the abduction case, that he was not privy to the real facts of the case.

In a press statement, the GHRA said that the concerns it expressed in an earlier press release did not require interviewing either of the parties.

The release then launched into an attack on the Kaieteur News. “Having been silent on the issue until two days ago, Kaiteur (sic) News cannot complain when people rely on other media.

Karen deSouza, of Red Thread also denied some aspects of the Kaieteur News report. “I didn’t say that Reeaz Khan is just a vehicle being used to bring this issue to the fore.”

Ms deSouza also denied that her organisation has plans to provide counselling for Ms Bibi Hamid. “This implies that we have determined that Ms Hamid needs counselling.”

Ms deSouza added that the critical issue now has to do with the “undisputed fact that an adult man had a sexual relationship with a 13-year-old girl, that this deserves our contempt, and that the society must both move to the protection of the particular child…”

Rhyaan Shah of the Guyana Indian Heritage Association also denied talking with Kaieteur News. However, there is evidence to show that she did talk with Reporter, Andrew Richards.

Her denial was published in Stabroek News. And again that newspaper failed to verify the information by calling Kaieteur News.

Kaieteur News stands by its reports on its interviews with Mr. McCormack, Ms de Souza and Rhyaan Shah.