Medical reports confirm women were “carnally known” during police detention

By Marion Ali
Assistant Editor

The Belize Police Department is “still investigating” a report from two women who say they were raped by police while they were held in custody at the Independence police station more than two weeks ago.
The only new information police did reveal this week is that the medical reports certify the women were “carnally known”, though police would not say at this point that it was rape.

Assistant Commissioner of Police, Joseph Myvett, who heads the National Crimes Investigation Branch, told reporters this week: “There are certain inconsistencies which we need to clarify in regards to the investigation. At this point in time whilst the investigation is still ongoing and there are no charges, the officers remain on duty.”
The Reporter has gathered from other sources that the two women, who are cousins, were allegedly raped in separate areas of the police station compound – one inside the station itself, reportedly by two junior officers – and the other outside the building under a step, by an officer of higher rank.

The women, one a Belizean and the other a Salvadoran, had reportedly traveled from Belmopan to Independence village that evening and were intercepted and detained by police at the Independence police station pending an investigation of ‘human trafficking’ when the Salvadoran could not provide her travel documents at the time to prove she was in Belize legally. After she was eventually able to contact someone to send pictures of her documents, she proved that she had indeed entered Belize legally. The two women were released without being charged, but claimed that they had both been raped while in police custody.

The police station reportedly has a number of surveillance cameras inside the building and outside as well, but police would not venture to say anything about what, if anything, was recorded and stored from those cameras.

Meanwhile, the People’s United Party’s (PUP) United Women’s Group has criticized the police for not taking swifter action against the three accused policemen, as well as the fact that the officers continue to work while they are being investigated.
“The women’s arm of the People’s United Party condemns in the strongest possible terms the irresponsible and unprofessional manner in which this allegation of gang rape by police authorities is being handled,” the statement said.

The investigation is headed by Commander of the Police Department’s Professional Standards Branch, Assistant Commissioner Chester Williams.

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