[News] Haitian Death Squad Leader's Plea Agreement Thrown Out
news at freedomarchives.org
Wed May 23 11:51:59 EDT 2007
Dear Friends of CJA,
We are pleased to announce an unexpected victory in our efforts to
pursue justice against Haiti's most notorious death squad leader,
Emmanuel "Toto" Constant. As you may recall, last year CJA, CCR and
pro bono co-counsel Sonnenschein, Nath & Rosenthal won a $19 million
civil judgment against Constant for crimes against humanity,
attempted summary execution, and other torture on behalf of three clients.
Constant was separately indicted by the state of New York for
mortgage fraud and entered into a one to three year plea agreement
earlier this year. Last week, CJA learned that the state prosecutors
and the Department of Homeland Security asked the judge to reduce
Constant's sentence to time served in order to speed his deportation to Haiti.
Haitian human rights experts were extremely concerned that Constant
would escape justice if he returned to Haiti and that he might be a
catalyst for more violence. As a result, CJA and CCR worked quickly
to submit a series of letters and affidavits to the court which
detailed Constant's record of human rights abuses as well as
information about the problems in the Haitian judicial system.
The judge agreed and threw out the plea agreement based on Constant's
record of human rights abuses. Constant is scheduled to stand trial
CJA also arranged to have Haitian human rights attorney Mario Joseph
testify about Constant and the fragility of the judicial system. We
are honored to work closely with partners such as Mario Joseph who,
despite his own heavy caseload responding to the on-going human
rights crisis in Haiti, dropped everything to travel to New York.
Below is a copy of the press release.
All the best,
center4justice at cja.org
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
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