[Ppnews] Int'l Case Filed For Haitian Political Prisoner Yvon Neptune

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Wed Apr 20 08:25:38 EDT 2005

         International Case Filed For Haitian Political Prisoner Yvon Neptune

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Yvon Neptune held in prison without charges since June 2004.

San Francisco, CA: April 19, 2005. Law students at the University of 
California, Hastings, along with Haitian and U.S. attorneys will file a 
petition tomorrow (April 20) with the Inter-American Commission on Human 
Rights (IACHR) on behalf of Haiti's former Prime Minister Yvon Neptune. 
Haiti's political situation has been unstable since the February, 2004 coup 
in which President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was ousted. Yvon Neptune, who was 
Haiti's last Constitutionally appointed Prime Minister, has been illegally 
imprisoned since June 2004. Mr. Neptune has yet to see a judge in his case, 
despite a Constitutional bar against holding detainees longer than 48 hours 
without judicial approval.

"Mr. Neptune's continued detention has placed his life in substantial 
danger," explains Hastings law student Kate Orlovsky. "He has survived at 
least two assassination attempts, as well as a prison massacre and a prison 
breakout since his arrest." The former prime minister began a hunger strike 
on February 11, 2005 to protest his indefinite detention and prison 
conditions, which has left him hospitalized.

At the invitation of the Government of Haiti, the IACHR is conducting an 
on-site visit to Haiti from April 18-22, 2005 to observe the human rights 
situation. The IACHR is charged by the Organization of American States 
(OAS) to examine and report on human rights in the western hemisphere. The 
Commission investigates claims of human rights violations, makes 
recommendations to governments, and refers cases to the Inter-American 
Court of Human Rights.

The law students' petition requests immediate action on the part of the 
Commission to prevent further endangerment of Mr. Neptune's life. In 
addition to calling for the former Prime Minister's immediate release from 
arbitrary detention, the petition will ask for international oversight and 
supervision of Haitian prisons in order to improve their dismal conditions.

"Prime Minister Yvon Neptune should be released immediately," Rep. Maxine 
Waters, D-CA, demanded. "He has committed no crime and the flimsy 
allegations against him are simply an attempt to remove Prime Minister 
Neptune from the possibility of being considered for the presidency. The 
jailing and the killing of Lavalas members is a tactic used by the 
illegitimate government to keep Lavalas members from running for office in 
November. If we wish to see legitimate democracy in Haiti we must insure 
that the members of Lavalas, including Prime Minister Neptune, are able to 
participate fully and without compromise."

"The situation of Prime Minister Neptune is nothing short of a travesty of 
justice," emphasized Bill Fletcher, Jr., President of the TransAfrica 
Forum. "The coup that overthrew the duly elected President of 
Haiti-Jean-Bertrand Aristide-has been followed by nothing short of 
lawlessness. The imprisonment of Prime Minister Neptune without charge, 
along with other political prisoners, has illustrated the climate of 
revenge and intimidation that has existed since the coup. There is no 
evidence that the so-called interim government has any intention of giving 
Prime Minister Neptune the proper justice, even if it were capable of 
meeting out justice. With armed thugs roaming the country much like 
barbaric hordes, thugs that the interim government clearly cannot control, 
there is no basis to believe that Prime Minister Neptune can be judged 
competently or fairly. He should be released immediately."

The petition will be filed by the Hastings Human Rights Project for Haiti 
(HHRPH) in conjunction with attorneys from the Institute for Justice and 
Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) and Bureau des Avocats Internationaux. (BAI).
For additional information or a copy of the petition and related documents, 
please visit www.IJDH.org, HastingsHumanRights.org or contact:

Brian Concannon Jr., Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, 
www.IJDH.org, (541) 432-0597, brianhaiti at aol.com

Kate Orlovsky, Student Director, Hastings Human Rights Project for Haiti, 
(415) 377-3133, kate_orlovsky at yahoo.com

Christina Iturralde, Press Outreach, Hastings Human Rights Project for 
Haiti, HastingsHumanRights.org,
(415) 235-0380, andeansol at yahoo.com

Mario Joseph, Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI), 011-509-221-6200, 
mariohaiti at aol.com

Notes to the editor:
Hastings Human Rights Project for Haiti (HHRPH) was created in 2004 by 
students and faculty at the University of California, Hastings College of 
the Law to provide students with practical experience in human rights 
litigation. First, second, and third year law students work with human 
rights attorneys and Hastings faculty advisors to bring human rights cases 
before international courts.

The Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) works with the people 
of Haiti in their non-violent struggle for the return and consolidation of 
constitutional democracy, justice and human rights, by distributing 
objective information on human rights conditions in Haiti, pursuing legal 
cases, and cooperating with human rights and solidarity groups in Haiti and 

The Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) represents victims of human 
rights violations in Haitian courts. The BAI's most successful case to date 
is the 2002 trial of the Raboteau massacre, which led to the convictions of 
fifty-three men, including the top military and paramilitary leaders of the 
1991-1994 dictatorship. BAI was founded in 1995 and has its main office in 
Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Brian Concannon Jr.
Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti

Forwarded by the Haitian Lawyers' Leadership Network

"Men anpil chay pa lou"  is Kreyol for - "Many hands make light a heavy load."

See, The Haitian Leadership Networks'  7 "Men Anpil Chay Pa Lou" campaigns 
to help restore Haiti's independence, the will of the mass electorate and 
the rule of law.
Here is what you can do to help us help the people of Haiti:
Action Requested from Haiti solidarity groups and activists for justice and 

Please circulate our mailings and posts to your mailing list and e-mail 
contacts. Subscribe by writing to: Erzilidanto at yahoo.com

Read, adopt and circulate the Haiti Resolution (see below) from the Haitian 
Lawyers Leadership Network and/or the Porto Alegre Declarations on Haiti 
adopted at the World Social Forum in 2005: 

Circulate the human rights reports, especially the latest Miami Law Center 

Do Press Work: Join our letter writing campaigns to help free the political 
prisoners in Haiti, stop the persecution of Haiti's most popular political 
party and restore Constitutional rule. Write a letter, call the media, fax, 
- See our Press Work page for sample letters and contact information:

HLLN Networkers are urged, in addition to the general writing campaigns and 
e-mail circulations, to also consider volunteering as primary 
coordinators/contributors to one of our seven campaigns: 

Support our lawyers in Haiti and HLLN projects, such as, our partnership 
with AUMOHD, the young human rights lawyers in Haiti who are defending the 
defenseless poor whose only crime is that they voted for Lavalas, supported 
Constitutional rule or are resisting a return of the bloody U.S.-trained 
Haitian army and US-sponsored dictatorship. For information on AUMOHD, go 
to: http://www.april6vt.org/

Support the Haitian Lawyers Leadership Haiti Resolution:

1. Demand the return of constitutional rule to Haiti by restoring all 
elected officials of all parties to their offices throughout the country 
until the end of their mandates and another election is held, as mandated 
by Haiti's Constitution;

2. Condemn the killings, illegal imprisonment and confiscation of the 
property of supporters of Haiti's constitutional government and insist that 
Haiti's illegitimate "interim government" immediately cease its persecution 
and put a stop to persecution by the thugs and murderers from sectors in 
their police force, from the paramilitaries, gangs and former soldiers;

3. Insist on the immediate release of all political prisoners in Haitian 
jails, including Prime Minister Yvon Neptune, Interior Minister Privert and 
other constitutional government officials and folksinger-activist Sò Ann;

4. Insist on the disarmament of the thugs, death squad leaders and 
convicted human rights violators and their prosecution for all crimes 
committed during the attack on Haiti's elected government and support the 
rebuilding of  Haiti's police force, ensuring that it excludes anyone who 
helped to overthrow the democratically elected government or who 
participated in other human rights violations;

5. Stop the indefinite detention and automatic repatriation of Haitian 
refugees and immediately grant Temporary Protected Status to all Haitian 
refugees presently in the United States until democracy is restored to 
Haiti; and

6. Support the calls by the OAS, CARICOM and the African Union for an 
investigation into the circumstances of President Aristide's removal. 
Support the enactment of Congresswoman Barbara Lee's T.R.U.T.H Act which 
calls for U.S. Congressional investigation of the forcible removal of the 
democratically elected President and government of Haiti.
To subscribe or unsubscribe, contact Erzilidanto at yahoo.com

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