GEORGETOWN, Guyana – A longtime aide to Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan on Friday denied allegations of ties to drugs and terrorism that led to his detainment in Guyana.
Akbar Muhammad spoke to The Associated Press in front of the main police headquarters in the capital of Georgetown, where he is being held.
"It's a massive distortion," he said. "In 51 years in the ministry, I've never been involved in anything like terrorism, much less drugs."
Muhammad, who was not handcuffed, was led into an unmarked police car by an officer and said he was returning to the hotel where he was arrested on Thursday to retrieve his heart medications before being taken back to jail. A police officer tried to intervene to prevent the questioning.
Assistant Police Commissioner Seelal Persaud said Thursday he had information that Muhammad was involved in drugs and terrorism. Persaud has declined further comment, except to say that a second suspect, Canadian-Guyanese citizen Phillip Muhammad, also was arrested.
Akbar Muhammad arrived in the South American country earlier this week to participate in rallies organized by black activists, as well as to give several lectures. He has visited Guyana several times but had never been detained previously.
Defense lawyer Nigel Hughes said he filed a habeas corpus petition on Friday to free Muhammad and accused police of detaining him without evidence.
Muhammad has worked with Farrakhan since the 1960s and is the international representative for the Nation of Islam, according to a biography released by the Truth Establishment Institute, which handles speaking engagements for him.
In April 2009, he pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud and received a five-year probation in September 2009, according to court records. He was accused of using different names to obtain lines of credit and mortgages from 1983 through 2007.
Muhammad said he was shocked by the police allegations in Guyana.
"For them to be putting this all over the world for my family and friends to read is a massive embarrassment," he said. "There is something else going on. I have no history of terrorism with all my years in the ministry."