Leader of the Opposition and Political Leader of the United Workers Party (UWP) Lennox Linton, has described as “political persecution” the detention and charge of Dr. Sam Christian on allegations of “inciting to commit arson.”
On Thursday morning an unplanned show of support for Dr. Christian began outside Police Headquarters in Roseau after Linton and his colleagues received information of his detention.
Linton told Dominica News Online that the police were “dredging up” statements made by Dr. Christian at a political rally in 2015, saying it is political persecution.
“The police are dredging that up now claiming incitement and they have had in there since 9 o’ clock this morning. This is something now that involves all the people of Dominica because everybody who has a view about wrongdoings in the government and who expresses themselves in one way or another are likely to find themselves in the same position that Dr. Christian finds himself this morning,” he said.
He asked, “Why is it coming up now? Are you aware that this is 2017?”
Linton affirmed that the case is entirely political and “has nothing to do with 2015” but rather has “everything to do with what Dr. Christian is involved in right now.”
“The government and the police authority, the government giving instruction to the police authority, to harass whoever they can to send a message to people that it is not okay to protest,” Linton stated.
Meanwhile, member of the UWP, Thompson Fontaine, said that the case can be viewed as “naked political victimization.”
“He was very much involved in opposing the government,” Fontaine said, referring to Dr. Christian. “And that is the reason why we believe that happened.”
He said that whole issue is an attempt to silence the opposition.
“It’s an attempt to shut up the opposition to Prime Minister Skerrit. So we are calling on all Dominicans to come out in the numbers in support of Dr. Christian,” he said.
Parliamentary Representative for the Roseau Central Constituency Joseph Isaac shared the same views as Fontaine saying that the government is “really going after people.”
“I think the alleged matter they are talking about with Mr. Christian happened over two years ago. So they had enough time to deal with the matter if they wanted to deal with it,” Isaac said.
He thinks that all Dominicans should treat this situation as a serious matter and that the government and police authorities are indeed collaborating.
“To me, it’s almost like Africa where you have police and the government system actually going after people because of political reasons,” he stated.
Dr. Christian appeared in court on Thursday afternoon and represented by Joshua Francis and law firm Dyer and Dyer. He was granted bail in the sum of $20,000.
Scenes below at Police Headquarters on Thursday morning.