[Ppnews] Half Hour For Haiti: Save A Political Prisoner's Life

PPnews at freedomarchives.org PPnews at freedomarchives.org
Wed May 4 11:12:29 EDT 2005

From: Brianhaiti at aol.com

May 3, 2005
Yvon Neptune On Verge of Death From Hunger Strike: Urge The Interim 
Government's International Patrons to Stop the Persecution

Thank you to everyone who responded to last week's alert to support labor 
leaders Ginette Apollon and Paul Loulou Chéry.  Hundreds of people signed 
onto the petition, and neither activist has been harassed by police since.

It is hard to have a more direct link to life and death than this week's 
alert.  Political prisoner Yvon Neptune is on day 17 of a hunger strike 
(started April 17), and declining fast.  Although he started to drink water 
over the weekend, Neptune is not eating, is emaciated and weak, and his 
internal organs are failing.   He will not end the strike until the Interim 
Government of Haiti (IGH) drops the charges against him.  Although the IGH 
has not brought Neptune before a judge in the 10 months of his 
incarceration, it refuses to drop the charges, preferring to send Neptune 
into involuntary exile, which he refuses.

Yvon Neptune will die within days unless he is freed, and the IGH will not 
willingly free him.  It has resisted calls, for months, from UN 
Secretary-General Kofi Annan, from the UN Security Council, from the 
CARICOM countries, human rights groups, religious leaders and ordinary 
citizens throughout the world, to either let Neptune go to trial or let him 
go free.  Faced with Neptune's imminent death, the IGH issued two press 
releases on Sunday, one asking the population to "set aside its passions," 
the other confirming that Mr. Neptune "is and will remain available to the 
justice system for the pursuit of the investigationŠ."  He has been 
available to the system for 10 months, during which he has survived 
assassination attempts, a kidnapping and a prison massacre, but has not 
been brought before a judge.

The IGH is in a position to persecute Neptune because wealthy governments, 
especially the U.S., France and Canada, put it there and continue to prop 
it up.  We must insist that those governments use their leverage to free 
Yvon Neptune.  They all will have Neptune's blood on their hands- the U.S. 
did call for Neptune's trial or release in July and December, but it 
continues to be the IGH's principal patron, even arming its brutal police 
force despite an arms embargo.  Canada officially denies there are any 
political prisoners in Haiti, and has given over $100,000 to NCHR-Haiti, an 
organization close to the IGH that has spearheaded Neptune's persecution 
(causing its parent organization to disown it).    France provides generous 
financial and diplomatic support to the regime.

If the U.S., France and Canada conditioned their continued support on the 
IGH obeying the Constitution and releasing Neptune, he would be released 
immediately. Please help save a life by emailing, calling or faxing the 
embassies of those countries in Haiti, to let them know two simple things: 
1) you care about Yvon Neptune's life, and 2) you will hold those 
governments responsible as accomplices in his death.

A sample letter and contact information is below, more information on Yvon 
Neptune and his legal status, as well as links to other campaigns 
supporting his release are available at www.ijdh.org.

Brian Concannon Jr.
Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti
Sample Letter

Dear Mr. Ambassador:

I am writing to urge you to act immediately to effect the release of 
political prisoner Yvon Neptune.  As you know, Mr. Neptune has been held 
illegally without a hearing for over ten months, when Haiti's Constitution 
prohibits such detention for more than 48 hours.  The Interim Government of 
Haiti's (IGH) claim that it is leaving the case up to a justice system that 
has so far done nothing but persecute him is meritless.

If Mr. Neptune dies, responsibility for his death will extend beyond the 
IGH to the international patrons that enabled this persecution, including 
your government.  Your government helped install the IGH and has continued 
to provide financial and diplomatic support, despite the fact that human 
rights groups, the UN and many governments admit that Neptune's detention 
is illegal and/or constitutes political persecution.

Your country can avoid Mr. Neptune's death, and complicity in this death, 
by announcing that it will withhold all support from the IGH unless it 
complies with the Haitian Constitution and international human rights 
standards by immediately freeing Yvon Neptune.  Please act now.

Contact Information:

U.S. Ambassador to Haiti, James B. Foley
United States Embassy
Port-au-Prince, Haiti

Telephones: 011-509-223-4711, or 222-0200 or 0354
Fax: 011-509-223-1641 or 9038
Email to Dana Banks, Human Rights Officer: BanksD at state.gov
Canadian Ambassador to Haiti, Claude Boucher
Embassy of Canada
Port-au-Prince, Haiti

Telephone: (509) 249-9000
Fax: (509) 249-9920
Email: prnce at international.gc.ca

Ambassador of France in Haiti,  M. Yves GAUDEUL
Embassy of France
51 place des Héros de l'Indépendance - BP 312
Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Telephone: (509) 222-0952
Fax : (509) 223 5675

The Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 863-9977
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