[News] Haiti update

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Tue Dec 28 08:58:43 EST 2004




AHP News - December 27, 2004 - English translation (Unofficial)


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  Lavalas activists announce plans for three days of peaceful 
demonstrations to press for "the return of constitutional government and 
denounce the political persecution and social exclusion"
------------------------------------------------------------------------



  Port-au-Prince, December 27, 2004 (AHP)- Lavalas activists in Bel-Air 
announced plans Monday to organize a three-day mobilization, on December 30 
and 31, 2004 and January 1, 2005 to call for the return of constitutional 
order and the departure of the interim authorities.

The activists' spokesperson,  Samba Boukman, said that the residents of all 
the populist districts in the capital will join together to make the 
mobilization a complete success.

In Mr. Boukman's view,  after nine months of social 
exclusion,  slaughtering of inhabitants of the populist districts, 
unemployment and hunger, the residents of these neighborhoods will take to 
the streets to denounce the suffering and ask that the vote of the people 
be respected.

We will also call for the arrest of the perpetrators and authors of the 
attacks against police stations and public buildings during the 
Anti-Aristide campaign in different parts of the country 
including  Gonaïves, Cap-Haitien, Hinche and Pernales.

Several police officers and members of the public were killed and dragged 
through the streets, notably in Gonaïves, during this insurrection.

At least three local leaders of this movement, including Butteur Métayer, 
Winter Etienne and Ferdinand Wilfort known as Ti Will are in prison or in 
hiding.

Mr. Wilfort has been accused in connection with the killing of a six 
year-old girl named Francesca Gabriel.

The activists behind the three days of mobilization said they are counting 
on MINUSTAH and the Haitian national police to provide security for their 
protests.

AHP  December 27, 2004  12:55 PM

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  The three recently released Lavalas political prisoners denounce the 
illegal nature of their arrests and the utilization of this approach to 
neutralize Lavalas
------------------------------------------------------------------------



Port-au-Prince, December 27, 2004 (AHP)- The three Lavalas political 
prisoners who were released on Thursday December 23 following intense 
pressure exerted on the interim authorities have denounced the illegal 
nature of their arrests.

Rudy Hérivaux and Yvon Feuillé were arrested without a warrant inside the 
studios of  Radio Caraïbes immediately following their participation in a 
political broadcast.

  Activist Lesly Gustave, one of the leaders of the Saint-Jean Bosco base 
Catholic communities (TKL), was taken into custody under similar 
circumstances where he worked at the Toussaint Louverture Airport in 
Port-au-Prince.

Arrested, he said, because he dared to speak openly of his support for the 
Fanmi Lavalas Party, former Deputy Hérivaux  declared that the political 
persecution will never force him to renounce his beliefs.

"I remain closely attached to Fanmi Lavalas and to Jean-Bertrand Aristide, 
who has always stood for the underprivileged among the population", said 
Rudy Hérivaux, who also stated that he feels no hatred nor desire for 
vengeance toward those who have harmed him.

At the same time he spoke in favor of a sincere national dialogue to usher 
Haiti out of the crisis.

Mr. Hérivaux also criticized the interim government, which thinks, he said, 
that it can neutralize  Fanmi Lavalas by imprisoning or hunting down its 
leaders and activists.

This behavior by the transition government is a sign of its fear of 
Lavalas, which represents the country's largest political power, he said.

"If the current government believes it can sideline Lavalas, it is 
misguided" said Rudy Hérivaux . he called for the release of all the other 
political prisoners.

The President of the Haitian Senate, Yvon Feuillé, also advocated peace and 
reconciliation.

He called upon the government to stop the political persecution, noting 
that he took provisional President  Boniface Alexandre at his word when he 
announced that a pact will be signed in January known as the three Rs 
(Reconciliation, Reconstruction and Renewal).

Yvon Feuillé also denounced abuses and massacres suffered by residents of 
the populist districts.

St-Jean Bosco TKL leader Lesly Gustave advocated harmony among all Haitians.

Denouncing the illegal and arbitrary nature of his imprisonment, he urged 
the interim authorities to release all the other political prisoners.

AHP  December 27, 2004  11:10 AM

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The GDP condemns the physical abuse inflicted by APENA officers upon the 
wife of a detainee at the National Penitentiary
------------------------------------------------------------------------



Port-au-Prince, December 27, 2004 (AHP)- Ronald St Jean, director of the 
Group for the Defense of the Rights of Political Prisoners  (GDP),  sharply 
criticized the violence utilized by officers of the National Prison 
Administration (APENA) against the wife of one of the Lavalas political 
prisoners.

  APENA guards allegedly violently beat the wife of the former government 
Delegate to Les Cayes, Jacques Mathelier, as she was asking insistently to 
see her husband.

The violence took place in the presence of Commissoner Sony Marcellus, the 
top APENA official, according to GDP's secretary general Ronald Saint-Jean.

Mr. Saint-Jean explained that, Sony Marcellus had recently threatened Ms. 
Mathelier because she had mentioned his name on the radio.

The GDP official said he is considering legal action against Sony 
Marcellus, whom he accuses of abuses of human rights.

Since the December 1st massacre of prisoners at the National Penitentiary, 
the families of the prisoners have not been able to see their imprisoned 
relatives.

Even survivors of the massacre who are undergoing treatment at hospitals 
are being closely guarded by police officers to prevent them from speaking 
to the press.

According to one of the survivors, at least 60 people were killed, while 
the government has set the death toll at seven.

The GDP director deplored that the investigation launched by his 
organization has not been able to  progress thus far due to the refusal of 
APENA officials to cooperate.

The GDP held a peaceful march Saturday of women and close to 25 children of 
the political prisoners who are imprisoned at the National Penitentiary and 
at other detention centers.

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