[News] Haiti update: Reactions and developments in the Arrest of Yvon Neptune

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Tue Jun 29 11:44:54 EDT 2004

HP News - June 28, 2004 - English translation (Unofficial)

Reactions to the imprisonment of former Prime Minister Yvon Neptune

Port-au-Prince, June 28, 2004 -(AHP)- The Fanmi Lavalas Political 
organization situated the imprisonment of former Prime Minister Yvon 
Neptune within the context of the wave of political persecution launched 
against leaders and members of the party Monday.

Mr. Neptune has been imprisoned since Sunday at the National Penitentiary 
in the center of Port-au-Prince, after he turned himself in to the police. 
A pro-government radio station had announced the day before that a warrant 
had been issued against him in connection with an alleged massacre 
perpetrated, according to the accusation, on February 11 2004 in a district 
of Saint-Marc known as la Scierie.

Gilvert Angervil, a Fanmi Lavalas spokesperson, denounced what it termed 
the indecency of the interim government, which has been furiously 
persecuting supporters of Fanmi Lavalas, he said, while the authors of 
crimes perpetrated against supporters of the ex-opposition continue to 
enjoy total impunity.

Gilvert Angervil said that the imprisonment of former Prime Minister Yvon 
Neptune and other high-level officials of Fanmi Lavalas is part of a 
campaign by the Latortue government to persecute people close to the party 
to please traffickers of all kinds.

For its part, the National Coalition for Haitian Rights (NCHR), which is 
reportedly the source of the accusations against Mr. Neptune, expressed 
pleasure at the incarceration of the former prime minister, describing the 
action as a positive step for Haitian justice.

In an interview Monday on Radio Solidarité, NCHR Executive Director Pierre 
Espérance said that he has never made an accusation against Yvon Neptune, 
but he should provide answers to the questions of the Haitian justice 
officials because he was in Saint Marc 48 hours later.

"I never accused Yvon Neptune by name as being someone involved in the 
massacre at la Scierie", he insisted.

In a press release, the U.S. Embassy in Haiti called on the interim 
authorities to open a fair, impartial investigation to prove the 
responsibility of Mr. Neptune in the massacre at la Scierie, even though, 
it said, the Lavalas government was deeply involved in political violence 
in general.

The Embassy's note included a request to the Haitian authorities to respect 
the dignity of the former prime minister and above all to guarantee his 

The Embassy also pointed out the crucial and courageous role played by Mr. 
Neptune to assure a constitutional and peaceful succession after the 
departure into exile of  Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

The September 30 Foundation denounced the conduct of the Latortue 
government which in its view is doing everything it can to throw into 
prison or continue the imprisonment of high-level officials and supporters 
of Fanmi Lavalas.

A spokesperson for the Foundation, Gilbert Elméus, declared he could not 
understand the interim government's actions, consisting of persecuting 
political adversaries, he said, while guaranteeing total impunity for the 
authors of the murders of numerous police officers and members of civil 
society and the pillaging of several police stations during the 
insurrection by the former opposition.

Gilbert Elméus called upon the interim authorities to provide proof that a 
massacre actually took place at la Scierie and that former prime Minister 
Yvon Neptune was actually involved in such a massacre.

According to Ronald St-Jean, the director of the Committee to Defend the 
Rights of the Haitian People (CDPH), the alleged massacre at la Scierie is 
no more than a fabrication aimed at justifying the campaign of persecutions 
launched by the Latortue government against leaders and activists of  Fanmi 

Political leaders of the former opposition including Evans Paul (K-Plim), 
secretary General of the KID party (Democratic Unity Convention), expressed 
satisfaction at the imprisonment of Mr. Neptune.

Supporters of RAMICOS and the former opposition in general in Saint-Marc, 
also welcomed the hunting down of partisans of  Fanmi Lavalas.

At the same time, a pro-government radio station in Port-au-Prince 
broadcast that alongside the good news, there is also bad news.

In this regard, the station claimed to have information that a plot has 
been hatched from Africa designed to bring about the failure of the 
transition of the interim government of Gérard Latortue.

AHP June 28, 2004 3:40 PM

The government prosecutor of Saint-Marc pays a visit to former Prime 
Minister Neptune

Port-au-Prince, June 28, 2004 -(AHP)- Leslie Jules, the pubic prosecutor of 
Saint-Marc, visited former Prime Minister Yvon Neptune Monday at the 
National Penitentiary, where he has been incarcerated since Sunday.

Mr. Jules also visited former Interior Minister Jocelerme Privert and 
former  Deputy Amanus Mayette. The prosecutor said he came to learn about 
the treatment being given to the three Lavalas officials.

However he furnished no details regarding the date when former Prime 
Minister Yvon Neptune would appear before a judge in connection with the 
accusation that he was involved in an alleged massacre that is supposed to 
have taken  place on February 11 in the La Scierie district of Saint-Marc.

In related news, Mr, Neptune refused to meet Sunday with Pierre Espérance, 
the director of the National Coalition for Haitian Rights (NCHR). Mr. 
Neptune said that Mr. Espérance had made no effort to meet with him at any 
previous time to talk about the question of  la Scierie.

According to Gilvert Angervil, a Fanmi Lavalas spokesperson who spoke with 
Mr. Neptune, Pierre Espérance has been bent on exclusively defending the 
position of  Ramicos, an armed organization allied with the former 

Pierre Espérance has stated that 50 people were killed in the alleged 
massacre at la Scierie. When asked why the bodies were not discovered, Mr. 
Espérance had sought to convince people that they bodies as well as their 
bones had been eaten by hungry dogs.

Several foreign journalists and members of international human rights 
organizations who traveled to the scene following the statements made by 
NCHR have said they had not found any evidence of a massacre.

Some foreign journalists had said "only five bodies were found, without 
there being any information to explain under what circumstance they were 

AHP June 28, 2004 3:40 PM

Latortue is "saddened" by the imprisonment of Yvon Neptune, after having 
accused Mr. Neptune of involvement in the most recent violence that has 
taken place in Haiti

Port-au-Prince, June 28, 2004 -(AHP)- Interim Prime Minister Gérard 
Latortue, said he is sad that former Prime Minister Yvon Neptune now finds 
himself in prison.

Gérard Latortue sought to make people believe that the arrest of Mr. 
Neptune has nothing to do with politics but is instead a case with a 
judicial basis.

He said he hopes that justice officials will treat this case promptly and 
with all appropriate seriousness with regard to the rights of the detainee.

Mr. Latortue, responding to a question about the killing of the director of 
Air-France and the fire that destroyed several businesses on the Rue des 
Fronts-Forts, tried to blame these acts on President Aristide and former 
prime Minister   Yvon Neptune, suggesting that these acts resulted from 
their call to the population for a peaceful mobilization to bring about 
respect for human rights.

Gérard Latortue accused  Jean-Bertrand Aristide and Yvon Neptune in 
particular of wishing to destabilize the country.

Shortly before a warrant was issued to arrest Mr. Neptune, he wrote a 
letter to U.S. President Georges Bush, French President Jacques Chirac, and 
to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, denouncing the maneuvers of the interim 
government and its supporters aimed at assassinating him or throwing him 
into prison.

Yvon Neptune had especially condemned the the persecution and threats that 
placed his own security in doubt.

He affirmed that he has been constantly harassed by armed anti-Aristide 
groups and by the interim government.

He also denounced the fact that some officials of the provisional 
government have associated themselves with anti-Lavalas groups in an effort 
to neutralize him.

AHP June 28, 2004 11:35 PM

Family and friends of Lavalas activist Annette Auguste continue to denounce 
the maneuvers of the interim government to keep Sò Anne in prison illegally

Port-au-Prince, June 28, 2004 -(AHP)- Those who are close to the Fanmi 
Lavalas activist Annette Auguste, who has been incarcerated for nearly two 
months, continue to denounce what they call maneuvers by the interim 
government to keep her in prison illegally.

Wilfrid Lavaud, the husband of Annette Auguste, labeled as pure lies and 
fabrication the statements broadcast last week by a Port-au-Prince radio 
station in which someone named Sonia Desrosiers said she had attended a 
ceremony at the home of President Aristide in March 2000 when a baby 
(belonging to Nanoune Myrtyl) was sacrificed.

Wilfrid Lavaud declared he finds many contradictions in the statements of 
Sonia Desrosiers, who says she has had the privilege of meeting the interim 
Minister of Justice, Bernard Gousse.

He observed that Sonia Desrosiers mentioned a telephone number that was 
allegedly used by Sò Anne to invite her to the ceremony that is supposed to 
have been held in March 2000, even though the telephone assigned to that 
number was not purchased until 2003, he said.

Mr. Lavaud also said he noticed that Sonia Desrosiers claims that during 
that ceremony in the year 2000, the participants called for respect for the 
five year term in office of  President Aristide , even though it was René 
Préval who was president in the year 2000.

The husband of Sò Anne insists that the statements of Sonia Desrosiers were 
provided to her and are in line with the type of statements made last year 
by individuals named Johnny Occilius and Michard Mercier.

Mr. Lavaud pointed out that a nurse who was working the night the baby of 
Nanoune Myrtyl disappeared was arrested and later released under pressure 
and that she is the one who should be asked to answer questions as to what 
happened to this baby, he said.

"The cruel person always makes a mistake", added Mr. Lavaud, denouncing 
what he called the clumsy maneuvers aimed at keeping Sò Anne in Prison.

AHP June 28, 2004 12:20 PM

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