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24914: Haiti Progress: This Week in Haiti 23 : 7 4/27/2005 (fwd)
From: Haïti Progrès <firstname.lastname@example.org>
"This Week in Haiti" is the English section of HAITI PROGRES
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and Creole, please contact the paper at (tel) 718-434-8100,
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"Le journal qui offre une alternative"
* THIS WEEK IN HAITI *
April 27 - May 3, 2005
Vol. 23, No. 7
"LA SCIERIE" PRISONERS DRAGGED BEFORE ST. MARC KANGAROO COURT
Haiti's constitutional Prime Minister Yvon Neptune was taken to Saint
Marc on Friday, April 22, to appear before examining magistrate Clunie
Pierre Jules on charges that he ordered an alleged massacre in La
Scierie, a suburb of that city (see HaVti ProgrPs, Vol. 22, No. 16,
6/30/2004). Two other Lavalas government officials are accused of
involvement in this supposed massacre, the disputed existence of which
is championed primarily by the Haiti branch of the National Coalition
for Haitian Rights (NCHR), a pro-coup "human rights" group.
One day earlier, Neptune had been transferred from the hospital of the
Argentinian military base on the Airport Road to a private house in
Pacot, which officials of the United Nations Mission for the
Stabilization of Haiti (MINUSTAH) describe as an annex of the National
The de facto authorities then woke up the ailing PM in the middle of the
night and transported him to St. Marc at 4:00 a.m.. But the trip was in
vain because the examining judge was not in her chambers to carry out
his hearing, even if Neptune had wanted to answer her questions. In
fact, Judge Pierre Jules did not even know that Neptune was being
transported to Saint Marc.
The de facto authorities unilaterally organized the would-be hearing as
a media show, in which the Haitian National Police (PNH) and MINUSTAH
played prominent roles. The basic rights of the prisoner were trampled
since, among other things, his lawyer was not even advised.
In the course of the night-time transfer, Neptune was severely beaten.
Roused in the dead of night, Neptune "resisted and apparently even bit
someone who hit him, and that's when they
tortured him," explained journalist Jean Jean-Pierre on Pacifica Radio's
Democracy Now on April 25. "They beat him up simply because that is
traditionally the reaction of Haitian police."
After being hospitalized by the UN last month, Neptune began a second
hunger strike to protest his illegal incarceration and to demand his
immediate release. "I will take neither food nor liquid, and I will
continue the strike until the de facto authorities and UN
unconditionally release me or take part directly in my death," Neptune
warned in an April 20 statement.
Samuel Madistin, the lawyer of the victims of the alleged La Scierie
"massacre," deplored that Neptune was transported to Saint Marc without
the examining magistrate being informed beforehand. Madistin said the de
facto authorities were trying to prove to the public that Neptune was
under their control, not the MINUSTAH's.
Constitutional Interior Minister Jocelerme Privert and Deputy Amanus
Mayette were also taken to Saint Marc to go before Judge Pierre Jules,
under the same illegal conditions. But both said they had nothing to say
to the examining magistrate. "I answered no question concerning
Scierie," Mayette declared in a statement from the National Penitentiary
where he is imprisoned. "I simply said that I did not have a lawyer...
Wanting to lynch me in the media will not have any effect on me, but
will be only used to make you servants of shame and lowness and to
reduce to you to a sub-human state."
Privert's wife said that her husband, who was taken to St. Marc very
early in the morning of Monday, April 18, only made a statement asking
the judge to take note that he was brought to Saint Marc in an illegal
manner and without the presence of his lawyer. Privert was then taken
back to his Canape-Vert hospital room in Port-with-Prince, where he
receives medical care following the deterioration of his health due to
his justice-seeking hunger strike.
In reviewing the facts of La Scierie, the United Nations independent
expert on human rights in Haiti, Louis Joinet, recently said that deaths
resulted not from a massacre, but a confrontation between rival armed
bands in Saint Marc on the eve of President Aristide's kidnapping in
THE UN STRANGLING CITÉ SOLEIL
For the past two weeks, the UN has treated Cité Soleil like a
"Bantustan" in apartheid South Africa or a refugee camp in occupied
Palestine. The inhabitants of the giant shanty town no longer can freely
travel to and from their homes. To leave or enter the slum, they undergo
humiliating body searches by UN blue-helmeted troops under the gaze of
the Haitian police officers who surround the area as a part of the huge
joint operation to supposedly thwart "bandits."
This "operation" produces new victims every day. Occupying soldiers have
coldly gunned down children and old men. These victims, too, are counted
as "bandits." The death toll since the beginning of the operation is
On just one day, Friday, April 15, twenty people died according to René
Monplaisir, spokesman for the Lavalas militants of Cité Soleil. "The UN
soldiers, locked up in their armored tanks, shoot on all those who
naively venture too close to their vehicles, regarding them as bandits,"
Elouafi Boulbars, a MINUSTAH spokesman, warned the residents of Cité
Soleil to basically clear out of their homes. "I advise the inhabitants
of Port-with-Prince and Cité Soleil in particular to move out of the hot
zones during the exchanges of fire and to keep children from approaching
these places," he said. "This will greatly facilitate the our task."
UN sources said that on April 15 approximately ten "members of armed
bands" were killed and a score of others wounded during confrontations
with UN troops and the PNH. A MINUSTAH officer told Agence France Presse
that "all hell broke loose when a joint force of Minustah and Haitian
police entered this shanty town to establish security there. We were
received with gunfire." He said that 160 Jordanian soldiers and 60
Haitian police officers were deployed that day and that two police
officers were wounded.
The UN awarded a medal to the Brazilian MINUSTAH this week. Their "good
work" was particularly appreciated by neo-Duvalierist Hubert Deronceray,
leader of the Large Center-Right Front (GFCD), who was openly delighted
by the U.N. deadly forays into Cité Soleil.
"Fanmi Lavalas denounces all discriminatory measures aiming to encircle
Cité Soleil with containers with the aim of isolating the area from the
rest of the country," declared former Lavalas deputy James Desrosin.
"This practice resembles the apartheid which prevailed in South Africa
(...) Fanmi Lavalas notes that in recent days an arsenal of the most
atrocious repression has been mobilized against the country's largest
shanty town. We denounce these acts the only objective of which is the
elimination of the partisans and sympathizers of Fanmi Lavalas. Such
intrigues have confirmed the unceasingly growing rumors circulating for
several days that the MINUSTAH and PNH are planning a huge campaign
aimed at wiping out Cité Soleil and other popular neighborhoods."
Meanwhile, from South Africa, President Aristide issued a statement on
April 19, denouncing the repression being carried out in Haiti as a
Samba Boukman, the spokesman for the Lavalas militants of Bel-Air, said
he was astonished that Ronaldo Mota Sardenberg, the Brazilian head of
the UN Security Council delegation which visited for four-day last week,
did not whisper a word about the crimes and massacres being carried out
against Lavalas partisans, but only called for elections later this
year. "Terrible crimes are being committed against the residents of Cité
Soleil on the pretext of a campaign against bandits," he said. "But it
is a campaign against the masses and against people's basic rights such
as access to education, health, drinking water, work, and housing."
On April 20, in a dramatic display of solidarity, some 10,000
demonstrators marched from Bel-Air to Cité Soleil, passing through the
neighborhoods of Tokyo and La Saline. The demonstrators denounced the de
facto authorities and called for the return of constitutional order.
MINUSTAH soldiers escorting the demonstration tried to prevent marchers
from entering Cité Soleil, and partially dispersed the demonstrators
with shots in the air.
But many marchers reassembled and made it into Cité Soleil, where they
gave its besieged residents bags of food: "We are making this gesture to
express our solidarity for our brothers and sisters in Cité Soleil who
are presently undergoing such difficult trials," one demonstrator said.
A Cité Soleil resident was moved. "They sympathize with our plight while
bringing food to us and by linking their voices with ours to demand an
end of exclusion and suffering," he said.
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