ST JOHN’S, Antigua, Thursday May 11, 2017 – An opposition United Progressive Party (UPP) politician who once served in the army is facing series charges, including threats to kill Prime Minister Gaston Browne and 13 other members of the ruling Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP), and intimidation of those same people.
The 28 serious charges against former soldier George Wehner, filed under the Electronic Crimes Act, stem from a video which went viral late last year. Featuring Wehner’s voice, it shows Browne and other ABLP members in the cross-hairs of a sniper rifle on a battlefield, complete with the sound of rapid gunfire.
The UPP caretaker for the St George constituency is expected to be served with a summons to appear in court on the charges.
After the news broke in the local media on Tuesday, Wehner’s lawyer, Leon ‘Chaku’ Symister, told the Daily Observer newspaper that the development was a continuation of “the political witch hunt, the political persecution, [and] the use of the police”.
He was also upset that the news about charges being laid against Wehner was made public before his client had been made aware.
“We think that it is unsatisfactory at best that if a citizen is to be charged with an offence or a number of offences that he hears it in the news for the first time,” the attorney was quoted as saying.
After the highly-condemned video began circulating, Prime Minister Browne tabled a resolution that condemned Wehner for making “a naked threat of terrorism”.
Police had detained Wehner for questioning as they sought to investigate whether he had violated the Electronic Crimes Act and/or the Prevention of Terrorism Act. However, he was subsequently released without charge.