[News] Haiti Update: Oct. 18, 2004 protest arrest of Father Jean-Juste

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Tue Oct 19 19:38:19 EDT 2004

AHP News - October 18, 2004 - English translation (Unofficial)

Justice and Peace, the human rights organization, criticizes the arrest of 
Father Jean-Juste and deplores the interim government's duplication of the 
abuses it formerly accused the previous government of committing

Port-au-Prince, October 18, 2004 (AHP)- The director of the National 
Justice and Peace Commission in  Port-au-Prince, Father Jean Hansens, spoke 
out Monday in criticism of the manner in which Father  Gérard Jean-Juste 
was arrested last week.

Father Hansens charged that the arrest was made without a warrant and with 

He condemned the conduct of those who have taken upon themselves the 
mission of bringing accusations against Haitians and placing their lives in 
danger on the basis of mere rumors.

"If someone is guilty of an act of violence or otherwise acts in violation 
of the laws, complaints should be filed against that individual before the 
appropriate authorities in order that the accused may be held accountable 
for his/her actions and at the same time have the opportunity to defend 
him/herself properly", said Father Hansens.

He also applied this line of thinking to make a general case for respect 
for human rights through the manner in which arrests are carried out. He 
also criticized the accusations made against authorities of the Catholic 
Church such as Monsignor Joseph Serge Miot.

Several sectors have insinuated that the Catholic Church has been involved 
in the most recent acts of violence.

The director of the Justice and Peace Commission questioned the precise 
origin of the violence that has prevailed in Haiti recently.

The interim authorities should offer a clear explanation to the nation of 
what they know, as this is not a simple matter, he commented.

Father Jean Hansens also called on the interim authorities to renounce the 
practices of the past consisting of speaking of peace to the general public 
while in practice it is as if they had declared war.

"I believe that the country will not be able to move forward under this 
cloud of ambivalence" said Father   Jean Hansens, further deploring that 
the interim government is in the process of doing exactly the same things 
it has accused its predecessors of doing.

AHP October 18, 2004  2:20 PM

The Archbishop Coadjutor of Port-au-Prince deplores that Father  Gérard 
Jean-Juste has still not been brought before a judge and rejects 
accusations made against the Catholic Church

Port-au-Prince, October 18, 2004 (AHP)- The Archbishop Coadjutor of 
Port-au-Prince, Msgr. Serge Miot, deplored Monday that Father Gérard 
Jean-Juste has yet to be brought before a judge to have the required 
opportunity to reply to the accusations nearly one week after his arrest at 
his presbytery at Petite Place Cazeau, in Port-au-Prince.

Interim Minister of Justice Bernard Gousse had declared the day following 
the October 13 arrest that he possesses information indicating that Father 
Jean-Juste is financing the acts of violence that are taking place in the 

However, police spokesperson Jessy Coicou said at the same time that the 
police who were sent to the scene did not intend to arrest Father 
Jean-Juste but rather wished to question him to find out what he knows 
about the violence that has taken place in the capital.

According to Ms. Coicou, they decided to take Father Jean-Juste into 
custody because of the violent behavior of local residents toward the police.

According to Msgr. Serge Miot, bringing Father Jean-Juste before a judge is 
the only way to determine whether the accusations against him can be 
supported and it would also allow him to defend himself.

Archbishop Miot also said that the fact that the faithful in the parish and 
people in the area protested against the arrest of the priest did not 
justify the police response. "It is entirely normal for them to show 
support for a person who has only done good things for them", he said.

"I have difficulty believing the accusations of violence that have been 
made against the faithful and the collaborators of Father  Gérard 
Jean-Juste who were present at the time of his arrest", said Msgr. Miot.

The senior figure of the Port-au-Prince Archdiocese  rejected what he 
called the gratuitous and thoughtless accusations brought against the 
Catholic Church with regard to the recent violence.

He insisted that the unproven allegations and the destructive practices of 
denigration be brought to an end and replaced by dialogue, which is the 
only way, he said, to help bring the country back on the track of 
reconciliation and development.

The Archbishop of Port-au-Prince accuses the interim authorities of wishing 
to distract the public from its real problems

Port-au-Prince, October 18, 2004 (AHP)- The Archbishop of Port-au-Prince, 
Msgr. Serge Miot stated Monday that the interim authorities are distracting 
the public's attention from the real problems of the country by making 
illegal arrests day and night.

According to him, the transition government should instead think about 
helping the disaster victims in  Mapou, Fonds-Veretttes, Gonaïves and other 
parts of the country who are still suffering from the damage caused by the 
devastating floods that struck the country.

"Why don't the authorities worry about the people of Cité Soleil and other 
districts who are living in sub-human conditions, rather than attacking the 
Church", asked Archbishop Serge Miot.

This is wickedness, he asserted.

The archbishop asked all sectors, particularly the human rights 
organizations, to denounce this attitude, which risks plunging the country 
further into the abyss.

It is through dialogue and working together that the problems of the 
country can be resolved, he said.

AHP October 18, 2004  2:20 PM

Boniface Alexandre says he deplores that Haitians have still not followed 
the ideal of Dessalines, 200 years after Haiti's independence

Port-au-Prince, October 18, 2004 (AHP)- Provisional President Boniface 
Alexandre deplored Sunday that the Haitian people have still not followed 
the Dessalinean ideal, 200 years after Haiti's independence.

Boniface Alexandre made these remarks in a televised message marking the 
198th anniversary of the assassination of Emperor  Jean Jacques Dessalines.

Mr. Alexander said he is sad to find that Haitians continue to  tear one 
another apart in their quest for power, forgetting that the father of the 
homeland wanted everyone to live free and enjoy the same rights.

The provisional president said it is time for Haitians to put into practice 
the national  motto " l'Union Fait la Force" (in unity there is strength)".

In addition, Boniface Alexandre affirmed that he has instructed the 
security forces to bring an end to the violence that has been developing 
for nearly two weeks in the Haitian capital.

The interim head of state indicated that all appropriate steps have been 
taken with a view to re-establishing a climate of peace and security in the 

He asked the security forces to act with the greatest possible firmness to 
prevent those who are sowing terror in the country from causing any more 
harm, he said.

AHP October 18, 2004  10:00 AM

The justice system can be summed up as arrests and imprisonment under the 
Alexandre/Latortue government, according to CARLI

Port-au-Prince, October 18, 2004 (AHP)- Renan Hédouville, the coordinator 
of the Committee of Lawyers for the Respect of Individual Liberties 
(CARLI), denounced the dysfunctional nature of the judicial system Monday, 
in the context of what has transpired in Port-au-Prince over the past two 

Renan Hédouville deplored that the office of the prosecutor in 
Port-au-Prince and the courts have remained closed without the slightest 

This situation constitutes a flagrant violation of the rights of 
individuals who have been arrested and kept in prison without having been 
brought before a judge within the period of time required by the law.

"Under the Alexandre/Latortue government, justice can be summed up as 
arrests and imprisonment", declared   Renan Hédouville.

Several senior officials and members of Fanmi Lavalas have been arrested, 
primarily since May, 2004, without having been brought before a judge as 
required by the law.

AHP October 18, 2004  10:40 PM

A rally and banging on pots and pans by Lavalas activists in Bel-air marks 
the 198th anniversary of the assassination of  Jean Jacques Dessalines

Port-au-Prince, October 18, 2004 (AHP)- Lavalas activists from the populist 
district of Bel-Air organized a rally Sunday and banged on pots and pans as 
they called for the departure of the interim authorities on the occasion of 
the 198th anniversary of the assassination of Jean Jacques Dessalines.

These activists accused the interim government of governing the country in 
a manner contrary to the interests of the majority.

" Our children, just like those of the minority who enjoy all the 
privileges, need to eat, go to school, and have access to health care", 
said several of the demonstrators who claim to have been arbitrarily 
dismissed from their jobs in the civil service.

They accused the interim government of incompetence both with respect to 
governance and contributing to the development of the country.

"These problems have multiplied since the technocrats came to power last 
March", they deplored.

In related news,  one Bel-Air youth, Mooney Louis Marie, suffered gunshot 
injuries Sunday afternoon on the Rue Macajoux during a police operation.

According to the victim, police officers dressed in black targeted him as 
he was preparing to go to church.

Mooney Louis Marie was shot in the arm. He denounced the attitude of the 
police officers who he contends were assisted by former members of the 
Haitian armed forces, who are firing at the civilian population.

AHP October 18, 2004  11:05 AM

Funeral services were held Saturday for  the coordinator of OPL:  Gérard 
Pierre-Charles placed his life at the service of others, according to 
Father William Smarth

Port-au-Prince, October 18, 2004 (AHP)- Funeral services for Gérard Pierre 
Charles, the general coordinator of the OPL party  (Organization of the 
People in Struggle), were held Saturday at the party's headquarters in 

Several hundred people including senior officials, active members and 
sympathizers of OPL paid final tribute to  Gérard Pierre Charles.

Father William Smarth, who led the ceremony, described Gérard Pierre 
Charles as a lifelong public servant who, as a professor, knew how to share 
his knowledge with others.

Father Smarth spoke of Gérard Pierre Charles as a great patriot who 
struggled for many long years for the establishment of democracy in Haiti.

Many political leaders also paid tribute to the memory of Gerald Pierre 

Marc L. Bazin, leader of the MIDH party (Movement for the Establishment of 
Democracy in Haiti), spoke warmly of the great intellectual qualities of 
Mr. Pierre Charles.

"Despite the ideological differences between us,  Gérard Pierre Charles was 
a patriot who believed in the future of his country", said Marc Bazin.

For his part, the new acting Secretary General of OPL, Paul Denis, insisted 
on the fact that Gérard Pierre Charles was a model of discipline.

"The example of collective leadership set by Gérard Pierre Charles will be 
followed and continued" he promised, emphasizing that OPL has always been 
characterized by a spirit of unity.

Interim Prime Minister  Gérard Latortue emphasized that Gérard Pierre 
Charles has passed away at a moment when the country was in need of his 
great analytical abilities.

He deplored that Gérard Pierre Charles was not able to see his dream of 
setting up a great socialist party become reality.

Former Senator Edgar Leblanc was named acting coordinator of the party.

AHP October 18, 2004  11:35 AM

The interim government has already created millionaires of its own seven 
months after taking office, according to a former leader of the FEUH

Port-au-Prince, October 18, 2004 (AHP)- Hervé Saintilus, former leader of 
the FEUH, Federation of Haitian University Students, denounced the 
corruption which he said is festering inside the new government 

New millionaires have already been created by the new government which took 
office in March, said  Saintilus. However he did not provide any precise 

He finds it improper, he said, that they are recreating exactly what they 
accused the Aristide government of doing yesterday.

The FEUH also denounced the conduct of some students who are receiving 
several checks, he said, from the civil service without performing any work.

Like us, they took part in the GNB movement to denounce the Aristide 
government. It is not right for them to tarnish the image of our struggle 
today", he asserted. He said these practices constitute unacceptable 

AHP October 18, 2004  12:00 PM

The FRN is officially presented to its supporters in Cap-Haitien

Port-au-Prince, October 18, 2004  (AHP)- The Front for National 
Reconstruction (FRN) was officially introduced Sunday to its supporters in 
Cap-Haitien at Saint Victor Park.

At the event, the leader of the front,  Guy Philippe, said that this 
introduction will enable the party to strengthen its base in the north and 
Northeast departments of Haiti.

Guy Philippe said that his political organization is already prepared to 
take part in the next elections at every level.

He promised to combat injustice, impunity and hunger in the country and 
said he will permit every Haitian to have access to the benefits of a 
decent education.

Guy Philippe also promised that the FRN will set up structures to resolve 
the problem of insecurity, represents a major handicap to the country, he 

At the conclusion of the ceremony, several dozen demobilized soldiers, 
members of the Front and supporters of the former opposition went to 
several streets of the city to present front leader Guy Philippe to the 
people of Cap Haitien.

AHP October 18, 2004  1:10 PM

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