[Ppnews] Haiti Action Committee: Demand release of Rene Civil!

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Fri Dec 8 14:29:31 EST 2006

Urgent Action Alert from the Haiti Action Committee


Demand release of jailed democracy fighter Rene Civil!

Don't let them silence the voices of Haiti's poor

Free Rene and all political prisoners!

Rene Civil, one of Haiti's most well respected grass
roots activists, is still in jail. Despite massive
protests in Haiti calling for the release of all
political prisoners, Rene and hundreds of others
remain locked down in Haiti's jails.  It is past time
for their release.

We call upon the government of President Rene Preval
to stand up to the US/UN occupiers of Haiti and
release these political prisoners.


Mr. Civil is a leading grassroots activist with
Haiti's Lavalas movement. He was a founding member and
leader of Jeunesse Pouvoir Populaire or JPP
(Youth/People's Power), a youth movement founded after
the 1991-94 coup when President Aristide returned to
Haiti. The JPP organized young people in the struggle
for democracy, mainly in the poor neighborhoods of
Port-au-Prince. The JPP provided financial support to
encourage the youth to pursue their studies in school
or learn a trade, and set up centers where young
people could get a hot meal and political education.

Two days before his arrest, Rene Civil addressed the
3rd Solidarity Encounter with the Haitian People, at
the Aristide Foundation in Port-au-Prince. He
denounced the system "which causes economic,
political, military and social war on the people of
the world", and which is preventing poor nations like
Haiti from exercising their independence. "The people
of Haiti," he said, "who believe in freedom, who have
tasted freedom, will never accept this criminal,
slaving system."

1. The Illegal Political Arrest -- Late in the night
of August 25-26 Mr.  Civil was illegally arrested by
Haitian police without a warrant. On August 28, Civil
was interrogated by the new prosecutor of
Port-au-Prince, Claudy Gassant, a well-known opponent
of Lavalas, and thrown in the
notorious National Penitentiary.  Brother Rene remains
incarcerated today, one of hundreds of political
prisoners languishing in Haiti's prisons.

According to a report on HaitiWebs, when Mr. Civil
left the court building after his hearing he defiantly
thrust his manacled hands in the air and said:
"Liberty or death. I have been arrested unjustly, with
false accusations, because I defend democracy and the
return of President Aristide. This is a political

2. The Fake Charges -- Rene Civil was originally
arrested on three charges -- all bogus. The first,
"use of a stolen vehicle," involves a car Civil has
owned for six years and had registered with the
police. [While Civil was in exile, the police
themselves seized the car and used it for two years.
Civil had only recently reclaimed his car.] The second
charge relates to two pistols in the possession of
others in the car, not Mr. Civil. The third charge,
"association with wrongdoers," is a vague conspiracy
charge often used to keep democracy activists in
prison -- including former political prisoners Father
Gerard Jean-Juste and former Prime Minister Yvon
Neptune -- without a shred of evidence that they
committed any crime.

3. The Hounding of Rene Civil -- After the February
29, 2004 kidnapping and coup d'etat that overthrew the
democratically elected government of President
Aristide, Rene Civil went into exile for two years in
the Dominican Republic. On his return to Haiti on May
12, 2006 he was arrested at the border and jailed for
two weeks -- on an earlier set of trumped-up charges.
Those charges were dropped on August 14. Barely two
weeks later, he was arrested and jailed again!

4. "The Coup regime people are the ones responsible
for my arrest" -- Visited in prison by San Francisco
writer Ben Terrall, Civil said his arrest was a
provocation directed at the base of Lavalas. He said
the people responsible for his arrest are the same
people behind the 2004 coup, who hate President
Aristide and any expression of popular

Your action now can make the difference.

Write to Haiti's Minister of Justice Rene Magloire.
Letters can be sent directly to Maitre Magloire by
regular mail. Or, you can send them to Rene Civil's
lawyers by fax at 206-350-7986 (a U.S. number) or by
email to avokahaiti at aol.com. His lawyers will see they
are promptly delivered.

In your letter, very simply state (in any language)
that this was an unjust political arrest of a
pro-democracy activist, and demand the immediate
release of political prisoner Rene Civil.

Address your letter to:

Maitre Rene Magloire, Ministre de la Justice

At: Ministere de la Justice
18, Avenue Charles Sumner
Port-au-Prince, Haiti

For more information:  www.haitiaction.net

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