[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]
26025: Hermantin(Editorial)KEEPING POLITICAL FOES IN JAIL DISCREDITS INTERIM GOVERNMENT (fwd)
leonie hermantin <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Posted on Mon, Aug. 22, 2005
Justice in Haiti
OUR OPINION: KEEPING POLITICAL FOES IN JAIL DISCREDITS INTERIM GOVERNMENT
Haiti's interim government can't seem to get it right when it comes to keeping
the bad guys in jail and dealing fairly with political opponents.
Earlier this month, in a news conference marking the end of his tour, U.S.
Ambassador James Foley complained about the sudden release from jail of
Louis-Jodel Chamblain, a notorious gunman and leader of the armed uprising that
ousted former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, even as former Prime Minister
Yvon Neptune remains in jail without trial more than one year after his arrest.
''Imagine the tarnished image of Haiti today, with a Chamblain released and a
former prime minister who continues to languish in jail,'' the departing
Not content with this black eye, the government has made matters worse by
arresting another vocal critic, Rev. Gerard Jean-Juste, on charges that he was
responsible for the death of journalist Jacques Roche in Haiti on July 15 even
though Rev. Jean-Juste was reported to be in Miami on that day. He was
arrested, said a local police official, because he aroused ''public clamor''
when he showed up at the funeral for Mr. Roche amid a sea of political foes who
blamed him for the murder.
This was an unwise and provocative move by Rev. Jean-Juste, but that does not
justify jailing him on trumped-up charges. Given the predicament of Mr.
Neptune, it creates the appearance that the government of interim Prime
Minister Gerard Latortue is using false imprisonment as a way to silence
political foes during the period leading up to elections this fall.
This does more than tarnish Haiti's image. It makes a mockery of the legal
system and discredits the government. To keep these prominent opposition
figures in jail during this vital period under dubious charges will call into
question the validity of the government that emerges from elections. Better to
allow the two men to regain their political freedom. The best way for the
government to silence its critics is not to throw them in jail, but to admit
that mistakes have been made, correct them and remove an issue that threatens
to cast a permanent cloud on the upcoming elections.