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24964: Hermantin (News)Detained former premier refuses aid, seeks release (fwd)
From: leonie hermantin <email@example.com>
Posted on Tue, May. 03, 2005
Detained former premier refuses aid, seeks release
PORT-AU-PRINCE - (AP) -- A former prime minister on a hunger strike refused
to leave for medical treatment in the Dominican Republic, demanding instead
his unconditional release from house arrest, the government said Monday.
Yvon Neptune, who has been held without charge for 10 months in connection
with political killings during the February 2004 rebellion that ousted
Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, was scheduled to be taken to a
hospital in the Dominican capital, Santo Domingo.
Neptune, 58, refused medical evacuation to the neighboring country,
according to an interim Haitian government statement obtained Monday by The
Associated Press. He renewed a hunger strike 13 days ago and some say his
condition is critical.
''Yvon Neptune said he won't accept the medical evacuation unless all the
charges leveled against him have been withdrawn,'' the statement said.
``Such a demand is absolutely unacceptable. Mr. Yvon Neptune remains at the
disposal of the judicial system for the pursuit of the investigation.''
The interim government accuses Neptune of orchestrating the killings of
Aristide opponents in the western town of St. Marc during the rebellion.
Neptune has not seen a judge and has not heard the charges against him,
although Haitian law says he should have within 48 hours after his arrest,
said lawyer Mario Joseph, who works with the pro-Aristide Defense of
Political Prisoners Group.
Neptune, who served as prime minister when Aristide was president, denies
the allegations against him.
Interim government officials for months have resisted international pressure
to release Neptune, unwilling to give in to what some are calling the
blackmail of a hunger strike.