Haiti's "Prisoner of Conscience" diagnosed with life-threatening medical problems: Fr. Jean-Juste must be released immediately!
December 7, 2005
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Fr. Jean-Juste must be released immediately!
Haiti's "Prisoner of Conscience" diagnosed
with life-threatening medical problems

by Bill Quigley

There is new urgency in the call for the immediate release of Pere Jean-Juste from the jails of Haiti - the priest is seriously ill.

Fr. Gerard Jean-Juste is an internationally recognized advocate for justice and democracy in Haiti. Often callled the Martin Luther King, Jr of Haiti, Pere Jean-Juste has been in prison without charges since he was arrested July 21 after being beaten by a mob in a church in Port au Prince. None of his attackers were arrested. Demonstrations of support for Fr. Jean-Juste have occurred frequently in the poorer areas of Haiti and in many other cities internationally.

Amnesty International, Human Rights First, the International Association of Democratic Lawyers, members of the Irish Parliament and leaders of the UN Commission on Human Rights have called for his release and the release of all political prisoners in Haiti. The unelected Haitian government, which seized power after overthrowing the democractically elected government of President Jean Bertrand Aristide, has refused to respond to internal and international pressure. The unelected appear intent on leaving Fr. Jean-Juste, former Prime Minister Yvon Neptune and others in jail without trial until after the country's frequently postponed elections.

The first comprehensive medical report on Fr. Jean-Juste was just released by US physician John Carroll MD, who examined the priest in September 2005 and again in December 2005. The complete report is available on the website of the Institute of Justice and Democracy in Haiti. Dr. Carroll's report noted increased white blood count, swelling in the lymph nodes in his neck and under his arms, and intermittent hearing loss. The doctor, who is board certified in internal medicine, concludes that "the causes for these findings are numerous including hematolgic [blood] cancers, metastatic [spreading] cancer, and a host of infectious diseases."

Dr. John Carroll insists that "Father Jean-Juste needs an extensive medical work up, CAT scan, and surgical biopsy...and to beging appropriate treatment immediately. Many cancers of the blood have a good prognosis when treated early by specialists."

Pere Jean-Juste, in jail and out, always urges everyone to fight for human rights, real democracy and release of political prisoners. He advises us to "keep up the struggle, freedom is coming for Haiti."

It is time once again for the international community to join in solidarity with the people of Haiti and to demand without ceasing the release of Fr. Jean-Juste.

US citizens are urged to contact the US Embassy in Haiti and demand that they do everything possible to secure the immediate release of Fr. Jean-Juste.

  • The switchboard number is 011.509.222.0200.
  • Faxes can be sent to the US Embassy 011.509.223.9038.
  • Emails can be sent to the human rights officers in the embassy:
  • Ms. Dana Banks banksd@state.gov or Kevan Higgins higginskp@state.gov

Fr. Jean-Juste must be released immediately.

Haiti does not need another martyr for human rights

By Bill Quigley, Loyola University New Orleans School of Law.

Bill is a volunteer lawyer for Pere Jean-Juste with the Institute for Justice and Democracy, www.ijdh.org assisting Mario Joseph of the Bureau des Advocats Internationaux.

Bill can be reached at duprestars@yahoo.com or at 832.489.6408 in the US or 011.509.401.4822.

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