The Opposition APNU+AFC coalition has condemned the arrest of online talk show host Gavin Matthews, who was taken into custody on Thursday for statements made on his talk show about Culture, Youth, and Sports Minister Charles Ramson Jr.
Matthews was arrested at the Square of the Revolution while he was covering and participating in a small anti-government protest. He was eventually released on $100,000 station bail.
In a statement, the Opposition said it sees the arrest of Mr. Matthews as an attack on all Guyanese adding that the government is sending a clear message that it does not tolerate criticism or being held accountable.
“This is a clear case of political persecution and abuse and misuse of the Cyber Crime Law. No citizen is now safe except those in the inner sanctum of the PPP regime. The APNU+AFC calls on all right-thinking citizens to condemn, without condition this vulgar, brazen and corrupt misapplication of the law. This is another violent assault on democracy in Guyana,” the Opposition said in its statement.
The Opposition said government officials continue to use the Police Force as a weapon against citizens who oppose them.
“We also wish to place on record once more that the Guyana Police at al material times must act as a professional organization and resist the persistent attempts by the PPP cabal to persecute citizens who oppose them,” the statement continued.
According to the APNU+AFC, the harassment and persecutionon of citizens who exercise their right to free speech cannot be done in the name of breaching the Cyber Crime Law.
“If so, it appears that the regime is selectively applying the law, because those who are part of the regime are spared when they comment similar acts,” the Opposition noted.
It said the PPP has a history of harassing and prosecuting citizens who publicly criticize their members.
The Cyber Crime Act was passed and instituted under the APNU+AFC Government.