[Ppnews] Haiti - Yvon Neptune, so weak he cannot walk

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Wed May 11 15:39:56 EDT 2005

VOL 1 #189


FROM: "Isabelle Desbiens" <isdesbiens at cooptel.qc.ca>  AHP News May 9, 2005,
Date:    Wed, 11 May 2005 07:37:58 -0400


Port-au-Prince, May 9, 2005 (AHP)- Former Prime Minister Yvon Neptune’s 
health continues to deteriorate after over twenty days of hunger stike to 
demand his release without conditions.

In a message made public on Sunday, one of FANMI LAVALAS’ main officials, 
Jonas Petit, deplored the fact that interim authorities continue to keep 
Mr. Neptune in prison arbitrarily. "In a near future, FANMI LAVALAS will 
have to celebrate the funerals of a brave man,” Jonas Petit deplored. He 
declared he was amazed to see that the arbitrary continues to impose itself 
even through the 21st century.

Mr. Petit wonders if the United Nations Mission that is supposed to be in 
Haiti for peace and stabilization is also counting the days before Yvon 
Neptune’s funeral.

Jonas Petit calls democrats from all over the world to use all their 
influence in order to help to get Yvon Neptune’s release and to avoid that 
he dies in prison.

He spoke more directly to President of the United States George Bush.

"In the name of the principle of freedom and democracy you swore you will 
defend at the last American elections, I invite you to save the life of a 
man whose enemies of democracy and justice have sworn to push to death.

AHP May 9, 2005 1:10 PM


FANMI LAVALAS will be in mourning because very shortly, Haiti will 
celebrate funerals of  Yvon Neptune who was Prime Minister under President 
Aristide before the February 29, 2004 coup d’état.

The United Nations who say they are here to bring peace in Haiti are 
counting days together with those who perpetrated February 29th, so that 
they can bury Yvon Neptune and democracy once and for all.

FANMI LAVALAS is very sad to see that even in the twenty-first century, 
violence still wins over reason and human rights.

FANMI LAVALAS is giving a last call to democrats from all around the world 
for them to do something for Yvon Neptune.

Yvon Neptune was the Haitian People’s son but he was also friend of 
humanity. He gave up his social and professional life to help build a space 
where progress and liberty could become a reality for the Haitian people 
who has been on the road to freedom and a better future for 200 years.

In this tragic moment, FANMI LAVALAS is addressing the First citizen, who 
is the most powerful man in the world at this time, President George W. 
Bush, to speak in the name of God, please hear the cries of Yvon Neptune’s 
spouse and children. In the name of the principle of freedom and democracy 
you swore you will defend at the last American elections, I invite you to 
save the life of a man whose enemies of democracy and justice have sworn to 
push to death.

When you go to the kingdom of the God you believe in, He will thank you for 
saving His life when the evil had sentenced Him to death.

Jonas Petit
General National Representative of FANMI LAVALAS



DATE:    Wed, 11 May 2005 12:00:45 -0500
FROM:    haiti-news-admin at listhost.uchicago.edu,



The Miami Herald

May11, 2005

The prolonged detention without trial of former Prime Minister Yvon Neptune 
has turned into an embarrassing and unnecessary predicament for the interim 
government of Haiti. With Mr. Neptune in failing health on the 24th day of 
his hunger strike, it's time for the government to put an end to this 
disgraceful spectacle by releasing the 58-year-old from house arrest before 
things get worse.

Mr. Neptune, once the loyal deputy of ousted President Jean-Bertrand 
Aristide, is accused of being responsible for an alleged massacre near the 
coastal city of St. Marc on Feb. 11, 2004, days before Mr. Aristide left 
the country. There are several problems with the accusation. The facts of 
the St. Marc incident remain in dispute. Haiti was in flames; all sides 
committed acts of violence. Since jailing Mr. Neptune in June, the 
government has presented no evidence against him.

By keeping him in jail, the government calls attention to the wretched 
state of civil rights. In expressing concern over Mr. Neptune's situation 
last month, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights noted that of the 
1,054 inmates in the National Penitentiary, only nine were convicted of any 

Mr. Neptune earlier refused a government offer to fly him out of the 
country. He insisted on an unconditional release. The government should 
agree. This wouldn't exonerate him but would acknowledge reality: It's hard 
to administer perfect justice under an interim government that inherited a 
dysfunctional judicial system and a country in chaos. The government also 
would rid itself of the appearance that it is persecuting allies of Mr. 

For the sake of its own credibility, the United States has a duty to speak 
up. Last year, U.S. Ambassador James Foley acknowledged the ''crucial and 
courageous'' role Mr. Neptune played in the period before and after Mr. 
Aristide's departure. U.S. officials should remind Haiti's government of 
this and urge the release of Mr. Neptune before it's too late.

Copyright © 2005 Knight Ridder.


(This article wrongly accuses Prime Minister Yvon Neptune of being the 
cause of the delays in the system’s taking him to trial or releasing him. M)


The Miami Herald

May 11, 2005

Jailed, fasting ex-leader so weak he can't walk Haiti's imprisoned ex-prime 
minister Yves Neptune has grown weak during a hunger strike protesting his 
legal limbo of nearly a year.

jmozingo at herald.com

PORT-AU-PRINCE - On his 23rd day of a jailhouse hunger strike, (former) 
Prime Minister Yvon Neptune is reported to have grown so weak that he
cannot walk and slips in and out of consciousness, raising fears that he 
will die before he escapes the legal limbo of the past 11 months.

Neptune, who served under ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, was 
arrested June 27 on allegations that he directed a massacre of political 
opponents in the port town of St. Marc in the panicky final weeks of 
Aristide's rule.

Aristide supporters deny a massacre occurred and say the killings -- at 
least two dozen, according to human rights observers -- resulted  from 
fighting between police and armed groups intent on toppling the government.

They have helped Neptune turn his prolonged imprisonment into a cause 
célbre, using it to challenge the legitimacy of the new interim government 
and call for Aristide's return. The hunger strike has become a high-stakes 
test of wills between Neptune, who is risking his life, and the Haitian 
government, which could lose critical support from the United States and 
the United Nations if he dies.

''The de facto regime wants to kill him,'' said Mario Dupuy, a spokesman 
for Aristide's Lavalas Family party. ``There is no justice in Haiti right 
now. They must free Mr. Neptune and all political prisoners.''

Human rights observers have largely agreed with Neptune's advocates. Even 
officials from the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Haiti -- there to support 
the interim government -- have called on authorities to give Neptune a fair 
trial or release him.


It is unclear exactly how ill Neptune may be. On May 2, doctors announced 
that he had two days to live, and U.N. officials arranged to transport him 
to a hospital in the Dominican Republic.

But Neptune, demanding his unconditional release, refused to leave. He 
remains incarcerated in a private house, used as a prison annex for 
high-profile inmates, in the upscale neighborhood of Pacot.

Thierry Fagart, a top U.N. human rights official, told The Herald on 
Tuesday that when he visited Neptune on Monday night, the prisoner was 
gaunt and could no longer get to his feet.

''His health situation is not good at all,'' Fagart said. ``He was really, 
really tired. He was too weak to talk.''

Supporters of Neptune say doctors have warned that his organs are 
deteriorating and his kidneys could fail any day.

''As of [Sunday] night, he was still lucid, still conscious most of the 
time,'' said Brian Concannon, an American attorney with close contact to 
Neptune's family. ``He was drinking water. Not able to walk, though.''

Aristide, who is living in exile in South Africa, called on the world to 
''mobilize'' to save Neptune, according to a transcript of an interview 
released Tuesday.

''How long will he be able to survive, we don't know,'' Aristide told the 
leftist Democracy Now!, a self-proclaimed independent news organization. 
``That's why we grasp this opportunity to ask everyone who can do something 
to not hesitate because it is a matter of life and death. We need to save 
his life.''

Many LAVALAS supporters criticized Neptune last year when he stepped down 
and allowed for the transition to interim Prime Minister Gerard LaTortue. 
When he turned himself over to authorities in June, there was little outcry 
over his imprisonment.

But when Neptune and former Interior Minister Jocelerme Privert, also in 
jail on related charges, staged a 19-day hunger strike in March, LAVALAS 
partisans rallied for their release. Privert has also not gone to trial, as 
are hundreds of Haitians without the name recognition.


An Organization of American States human rights delegation last month found 
that of 1,054 inmates in the National Penitentiary, only nine were 
convicted of a crime. The situation is not new.

''This is part of the series of chronic problems the Haitian justice system 
has,'' said Marie Yolene Gilles, National Network for the Defense of Human 
Rights, a Haitian nonprofit group. ``No government has ever corrected it. 
Under Aristide, there were people who spent up to three years in prison 
before seeing a judge.''

There are two stages of being charged with a crime in Haiti, one at the 
time of arrest, another by a judge when the case is ready for trial. Neptune
has been charged only after his arrest. He has requested different judges 
and asked for changes in venues.

Gilles said Neptune has been called before a judge three times, but has 
refused to go.

When he was taken to St. Marc to go to court on April 22 -- five days into 
his second hunger strike -- he allegedly bit a prison guard.

''He is the one who caused the delay,'' Justice Minister Bernard Gousse 
told the Herald earlier this year.

Copyright © 2005 Herald.com and wire service sources.

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