Dog used in strip search, accused say

This is yet another disgusting breach of these mens human rights. Their treatment has alot in common with how the Irish community were treated during Thatcher, Birmingham 6, Guliford 4 anyone?

Dog used in strip search, accused say
Ian Munro
March 28, 2007

A VICTORIAN Supreme Court judge has suggested that 13 men facing terrorism charges could be released on bail after claims of mistreatment, including that a German shepherd guard dog sniffed the genitals of a naked prisoner during a strip search.

Another prisoner is alleged to have received bruising when grabbed by his beard and hands as he left a prison van and others were ill after being returned to Barwon Prison in a reportedly unventilated vehicle in extreme heat on Thursday.

Lawyers for the men claimed that one of the vans was left parked in the sun for more than an hour with the defendants inside after a morning court appearance. They say prison guards refused the men water during strip searches before the men were returned to their cells.

After being confronted with the guard dog, Bassam Raad was forced to stand naked for 10 minutes, lawyer Peta Murphy said she had been told, in an affidavit filed with the court.

Justice Bernard Bongiorno said if the allegations were true they reflected "a most unsatisfactory situation, which will need to be corrected".

He said if this was likely to happen again, the case for granting bail would "seem to be looming on the horizon".

The defendants have made numerous unsuccessful applications for bail since late 2005. But Justice Bongiorno said similar treatment might constitute the exceptional circumstances the men must demonstrate to be released on bail.

A spokeswoman for Corrections Victoria said the prison van's air-conditioning had broken down but it could not interrupt the trip for security reasons.

The spokeswoman said the prisoners were seen by nursing staff on arrival. "Their condition was monitored and checked the next morning and they required no further medical assistance."

She said strip searches were standard for prisoners entering a high-security unit. But she said that Ms Murphy's affidavit was the first time that Corrections Victoria had heard about the use of the German shepherd in strip searches. This would be investigated along with any other claims.

Ms Murphy, of Rob Stary and Associates, said the men sweated profusely on the journey. They were dehydrated and feared for their wellbeing. One of the men, Ezzit Raad, vomited several times in the night.

She said the prisoners claimed to have told the prison officers about the failed air-conditioning in the van before the return trip.

In a separate affidavit, Marie Costa, of Galbally & O'Bryan, said she had been told her client, Izzydeen Atik, had difficulty breathing in the smaller of two vans and he was kept waiting for more than an hour after arriving at the prison.

"Once removed from the bus, (Atik) still shackled, was manhandled forcefully by prisoner officers. (Atik) was grabbed by his hands and his beard whilst being thrown around (and) states that there is bruising to his right arm," Ms Costa said.


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