Dewraz Hurryman, a 55-year-old retiree, says he has lived in fear since his arrest on May 27, 2023 by the police. This follows after he attended a public gathering in Montagne-Longue in the presence of the Minister of Energy and Public Services, Joe Lesjongard. A year after this incident, he demanded Rs 20 million from the State for “gross negligence” before the Supreme Court.

May 27, 2023 is a nightmarish day for Dewraz Hurryman and one he will never forget. That day, he attended a public gathering in the presence of the Minister of Energy and Public Services, Joe Lesjongard, in Montagne-Longue. Now he found himself behind bars and was facing a provisional charge of vagrancy before the Pamplemousses court. This was struck out on November 7, 2023, before the court.

“This case has greatly traumatized my family. Today, I get anxious before leaving the house. I am afraid of being arrested and detained again in an arbitrary and illegal manner,” confides the fifty-year-old. This father of two children, aged 27 and 24 respectively, maintains that this affair has had consequences on his social and family life. Because, he says, his reputation has also been tarnished.

In addition, he said, this matter was addressed by the Prime Minister, Pravind Jugnauth, on June 6, 2023, during a parliamentary session.

In his complaint written by Me Vasanta Atmarow, the fifty-year-old returned to the words of Pravind Jugnauth in the National Assembly.

The fifty-year-old also describes his arrest and detention as arbitrary.

The PM's words in Parliament

According to the fifty-year-old, the Prime Minister, Pravind Jugnauth, had declared having been informed by the police commissioner, Anil Kumar Dip, that an incident had occurred on May 27, 2023 around 2:15 p.m., during a public gathering in Montagne-Longue. According to the Prime Minister, “Dewraz Hurryman allegedly used foul language towards Minister Joe Lesjongard, and that he was subsequently ordered by the police to leave the premises.”

In addition, the Prime Minister said that on the day of the incident, the retiree smelled of alcohol and rushed into his car and then left the scene. The same day, he was arrested near his residence around 5:13 p.m.

Pravind Jugnauth also maintained that it was only on June 2, 2023 that the police were able to record his statement.

The retiree's version

Dewraz Hurryman explains his version of the facts in his complaint. He claims that on May 27, 2023, he participated in this gathering where Minister Joe Lesjongard was present. He indicates that during this meeting, a woman addressed the audience in English. It was then that he declared: “(…) pa koz angle, koz kreol”. He claims to have expressed his opinion for the benefit of the public without disrupting the event and also, so that the audience understands the woman's words. But she, he said, whose identity was unknown to him, continued to address the crowd in English. He realized that his request had been ignored.

It was then that two people held him firmly by the arms and urged him to leave the area. The fifty-year-old claims that he complied with their request without any resistance. Long later, he points out, he learned that the woman was a representative of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and could not speak Creole.

After leaving the public gathering, he went to a shop where he bought beer. Then, he returned to his home around 1:30 p.m. He stated that he had consumed beer at home.

At around 2:15 p.m., while walking his dog on the street, he was stopped by police at the MBT intersection in front of the Safe City camera. According to the retiree, he was not even informed of the reasons for his arrest. Additionally, he said, he was not allowed to take home his dog which was on a leash. He claims that he was forced to leave him unattended in the street.

According to Dewraz Hurryman, he was taken to the Montagne-Longue police station. He claims that he was unable to contact his family to inform them of his arrest.

Around 6:00 p.m., a police sergeant demanded he submit to an alcohol test without giving him any explanation. The fifty-year-old says he refused. Then his lawyer arrived at the police station around 6:30 p.m. He was informed by the sergeant that due to the complainant's refusal to submit to an alcohol test, the latter was going to be detained overnight at the Piton police station.

Dewraz Hurryman says he felt humiliated since he is innocent and does not know the reasons behind his arrest and detention.

On May 28, 2023, he mentioned having been released on parole. However, on May 29, 2023, he was arrested and detained again. It was not until May 30, 2023 that he appeared before the Pamplemousses court on a provisional charge of vagrancy. On November 7, 2023, this was struck out by the Pamplemousses court.

Furthermore, Dewraz Hurryman maintains, in his complaint, that after his arrest, he filed a complaint with the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) on June 16, 2023.

In addition, he states that the chronology of events can be cross-referenced by images from Safe City cameras and those inside and outside the Montagne-Longue and Piton police stations. On July 25, 2023, he surrendered to the National Human Rights Complaints Commission (NHRCC), in connection with his complaint.

The information mentioned by the PM to the National Assembly has caused enormous harm”

Inconsistencies and abuse of power

Dewraz Hurryman maintains that the statements of Prime Minister, Pravind Jugnauth, to the National Assembly, on June 6, 2023, concerning the incident which took place on May 27, 2023, in Montagne-Longue, are “contradictory and inconsistent”. He mentions that the Prime Minister's statements are “false and misleading”.

For this resident of Montagne-Longue, he is of the opinion that the police commissioner communicated false information to the Prime Minister before an investigation, which, according to him, constitutes a “serious fault”. In addition, he argues, the information mentioned by the PM to the National Assembly caused enormous harm, moral trauma and damage to his reputation and that of his family.

The fifty-year-old also describes his arrest and detention as arbitrary and that it constitutes an abuse of power by the police and officers of the Very Important Person Security Unit (VIPSU). Because, he said, it was following the complaint filed by these officers that he was arrested in this affair. He mentions that there was “gross misconduct” on the part of the latter.

Hence his claim for Rs 20 million against the State before the Supreme Court. In addition, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) and the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) are named as co-defendants in his complaint.

The trial will be called on June 20, 2024, before the court. Dewraz Hurryman also retained the services of Me Sanjeev Teeluckdharry in this case.

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