Protesters condemn kidnapping in Port au Prince

by Roger Annis

Today, more than one hundred angry people took to streets of central Port au Prince to condemn the kidnapping of Lovinsky Pierre Antoine. He is a longtime political rights fighter and leader of the September 30 Foundation, a group founded in 2004 by Lovinsky. Its principle activity has been to fight for the rights of people illegally incarcerated in Haiti.

Lovinsky lived in exile from 2004 to 2006 following the coup d’etat and foreign intervention against the elected government of Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

The rally today was held in the grand plaza in front of Haiti’s presidential palace. It was organized by Lovinsky’s colleagues in the September 30 Foundation and by other human and social rights groups. More protest actions will take place in the coming days.

Protesters are demanding that the Haitian government and police use all necessary resources to secure Lovinsky’s release. They also condemn the conditions of lawlessness that have marked Haiti since the February 2004 coup d’etat and foreign intervention.

Large numbers of Brazilian soldiers were stationed in front of the presidential palace, across the street from the protest. Few Haitian National Police were visible.

Lovinsky’s case has been widely publicized on radio in Haiti. The print press has yet to cover the story.

Murdering the poor: Canadian tax dollars at work

Imagine if the U.S. were to hold elections after the Republican Party had rounded up Senator John Kerry and other prominent Democrats and thrown them in jail without charges, while waging a campaign of violence and political assassinations in all “blue states.” To hold Haitian elections under present conditions would be comparable to this, according to one of the panelists at the launch of the Toronto Haiti Action Committee (THAC).

For the THAC launch event on August 4, prominent Haiti solidarity activists addressed a crowd of 80 people as Toronto joined the ranks of other Canadian cities (Montreal, Ottawa, Vancouver and Halifax) that are home to active groups calling for an end to the repression being carried out in Haiti by an illegitimate Canadian-backed government.
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Haiti: Arbitrary arrest/prisoner of conscience: Gérard Jean-Juste

PUBLIC AI Index: AMR 36/008/2005
UA 195/05 Arbitrary arrest/prisoner of conscience 25 July 2005

HAITI Gérard Jean-Juste (m), aged 59, Catholic priest

Catholic priest Gérard Jean-Juste was taken into custody at a police station “for his own protection” on 21 July, after he was assaulted, but while he was at the police station he was accused of murder. He was abroad at the time of the murder of which he has been accused, but he is a prominent opponent of the government. Amnesty International considers him a prisoner of conscience, detained solely because he has peacefully exercised his right to freedom of expression. He risks spending a long time in custody awaiting trial on apparently trumped-up charges.

Rev. Jean-Juste has been an outspoken supporter of former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, and critic of the present government, in his sermons and in radio broadcasts. On 21 July he attended the funeral of journalist Jacques Roche, at a church in the Pétionville suburb of the capital, Port-au-Prince. He was assaulted and threatened by a mob outside the church, who said he was one of those responsible for the violence that is sweeping the capital. He was taken to Pétionville police station by officers from the Haitian police and the UN civilian police force, CIVPOL. None of his attackers is known to have been detained.

Continue reading Haiti: Arbitrary arrest/prisoner of conscience: Gérard Jean-Juste