Fuad Abu Bakr

New National Vision political leader Fuad Abu Bakr remained detained in police custody up to late yesterday.

Guardian Media understands that while Abu Bakr, the son of Jamaat-al-Muslimeen leader Yasin Abu Bakr, was slapped with a set of criminal charges after being arrested during a protest in Port-of-Spain on Tuesday, he had not appeared before a magistrate to answer the charges and apply for bail up to 6 pm yesterday.

Guardian Media was told that the charges included breaching the current COVID-19 public health regulations prohibiting gatherings of more than 25 people, inciting a breach of the peace and obstructing a police officer in the execution of his duties.

Contacted late yesterday, Abu Bakr’s lawyer Kashif Gibson suggested that it was ironic that he was charged for an alleged breach of the public health regulation based on his treatment at the Besson Street Police Station thereafter.

“This (Wednesday) morning I visited him and he was in a cell with approximately 15 other persons who were bunched up in a cell that wasn’t very large, so it was very cluttered,” Gibson said.

“I guess that is the irony of the situation in that you charge someone for gathering in a group while housing them for more than 24 hours in a very small space without a mask or proper sanitary services.”

Guardian Media was told that a justice of the peace was expected to visit the station to consider station bail for Abu Bakr pending his court appearance.

In a press release issued late Tuesday evening, the T&T Police Service (TTPS) stated that 72 people had been arrested in the protests and disturbances, which occurred mainly in east Port-of-Spain and at some locations across T&T. The protests were sparked by the police killings of Joel Jacob, Noel Diamond and Israel Clinton at Second Caledonia, Morvant, last Saturday.