UWI lecturer appeals for support for release of his father
Barbara Gayle and Jerome Reynolds, Gleaner Writers
Lecturer at the University of the West Indies, Mona, Enrique Okenve, is appealing to Jamaicans to join his international campaign to secure the release of his father from what he says are inhumane and unconstitutional conditions in the Republic of Equatorial Guinea.
Okenve, who lectures in the Department of History and Archaeology, says his father, Celestino, was detained on January 14 and remains in custody without charged.
According to him, the law prohibits the detention of persons for more than 72 hours without charge.
The UWI lecturer says his father had mounted a peaceful protest against the government’s decision to host the African Cup of Nations, which began on January 17 and runs until February 8.
He says his father and two other men were arrested by the police as they expressed their concern about the health risk to the country in light of the ongoing Ebola situation in some African countries.
According to him, the dictatorial regime in the central African country is oppressive against anyone who speaks out against it.
The UWI lecturer who is married to a Jamaican and has been living here for more than 10 years says he admires Jamaica for its long record of free speech and democracy.
He is appealing to Jamaicans to help him to lobby the international community to put pressure on the Republic of Equatorial Guinea to release his father and the two other men.
He says he has received support from international human rights groups such as Amnesty International as well as the US Department of State.
Yesterday, Amnesty International issued a statement calling for the immediate release of the men and said that exercising freedom of expression should never be the basis for imprisonment.
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