Abu Bakr case adjourned again
PORT-OF-SPAIN – The case against the leader of the Jamaat Al Muslimeen, Yasin Abu Bakr, for failing to appear before a Commission of inquiry probing the circumstances that led to the 1990 attempted coup in Trinidad and Tobago, has been adjourned to February 27.
Bakr, who failed to appear in court late last month, to answer a private complaint as to why he blanked the Commission, chaired by prominent Barbadian jurist Sir David Simmons, was however present when the matter was merely called for mention on Friday and adjourned.
On the last occasion, Bakr’s attorney had told the court that his client had suffered another infection on the big toe of his right foot as a result of complications associated with his diabetic condition.
However attorney, Larry Lalla, who appears with Senior Counsel Israel Khan, and Michael Rooplal for the Commission, said that they were anxious for the matter to start, since the Commission’s term will come to an end in March.
He said his client wanted the matter to be dealt with expeditiously so it can complete its work by the end of March.
Bakr,71, has refused to appear before the Commission and in a radio interview last year said he would only appear if he is paid to give evidence.
“If you want to take my time, you paying (Sir David) Simmons and the other people for their time and if you want to take my time you have to pay me equally for my time because with me they would not exist,” said Bakr, adding only salves work for free.
“I am a free man and not a slave,” he said.
At least 24 people, including one legislator, Leo Des Vignes, were killed during the six-day insurrection in July 1990, and although Bakr and the members of his Jamaat-Al-Muslimeen group were tried for treason, the Court of Appeal upheld an amnesty offered to secure their surrender, and they were released.
However, The London-based Privy Council, the country’s highest court, later invalidated the amnesty, but the Muslimeen members were not re-arrested.
The coalition People’s Partnership government, which came to office in 2010, set up the Commission to probe the circumstances leading to the actions by the Muslim group. (CMC)