[Ppnews] Haiti - Demand the Release of Rene Civil and All Political Prisoners

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Mon Sep 11 08:51:13 EDT 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!

1. The Illegal Political Arrest -- Late in the night
of August 25-26 Rene Civil, a leading grassroots
activist with Haiti's Lavalas movement, 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
National Penitentiary. Brother Rene is now one of more
than a thousand political prisoners reportedly
languishing in Haiti's prisons.

As he left the court building, Rene Civil 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
arrest," according to a report on HaitiWebs. The same
report quoted Lavalas sources as saying "the arrest is
part of a plan to throw 200 Lavalas leaders into
prison," and that certain state officials left over
from the coup government were behind the plot.

2. The Fake Charges -- Rene Civil faces 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 Father Gerard
Jean-Juste and former Prime Minister Yvon Neptune --
without a shred of evidence that they committed any

3. The Hounding of Rene Civil -- After the February
29, 2004 kidnapping and coup d'etat that overthrew the
democratically elected government of President
Jean-Bertrand 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. Now, barely two weeks later, he's 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 is a
provocation directed at the base of Lavalas. He said
the people responsible for his arrest are the same
people who were behind the 2004 coup, who hate
President Aristide and any expression of popular

WHO IS RENE CIVIL? -- Mr. Civil 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."

Delegates to the Solidarity Encounter, including Rene
Civil, participated in a chanting mass demonstration
in front of the National Penitentiary on August 23 --
demanding release of the political prisoners.

Your action now can make the difference.
Write to Judge Durin Duret, the Investigating
Magistrate (Juge d'Instruction). Letters can be sent
directly to Judge Duret 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  and 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 Durin Duret
Juge d'Instruction
Pres du Tribunal de premiere instance de
Ministere de la Justice
18, Avenue Charles Sumner
Port-au-Prince, Haiti

cc to Maitre Rene Magloire, Ministre de la Justice at
the Ministere de la Justice, same address.

For more information:  www.haitiaction.net

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