Haiti: Pere Jean-Juste Free, For Now
July 20, 2005
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Haiti: Pere Jean-Juste Free, For Now

By Bill Quigley,

Port au Prince — July 20, 2005 2:45 pm — Today Fr. Gerard Jean-Juste appeared at the Palace of Justice as ordered by the mandate of Judge Peres-Paul. The palace is a big high ceilinged open airy building - but Fr. Jean-Juste's hearing was held in a very small room in the basement. There was a sign on the wall outside the room - Justis Pou Tout Moun - Justice for All People. The public was excluded from the hearing.

The judge questioned Pere Jean-Juste across a small desk about charges that he was involved in a plot against the security of the state. All questions and answers were written down by hand by the court reporter.

Fr. Gerry's cap "Jesus is my boss" and his bible lay on the desk as he answered questions like these from the judge for over 2 hours.

Judge: "Do you want to change the government by force and violence?" Fr. Jean-Juste: "No, of course not, that is what those in power did to our elected democracy and President Aristide!" Judge: "Do you know who is behind the lawlessness and violence in Haiti?" Jean-Juste: "Yes." Judge: "Would you give names?" Jean-Juste: "Do you really want them?" Judge: "Yes, we really want them." Jean-Juste: "Start with the De Facto government, the President, the Prime Minister, all of whom are violating the constitution and law of Haiti every day!" Judge: "That is enough names."

At the end, the Judge told Fr. Jean-Juste that the government would look at the record and decide whether to drop the charges or go forward and send him back to jail. The judge said Fr. Jean-Juste was free, for now, to return to his parish of St. Claire's.

No date was given for a decision about what would happen next. The government will notify him of the next step at some point in the future.

After walking out of the hearing Fr. Jean-Juste was surrounded by media and others wanting to know what was going on.

Fr. Jean-Juste told them that "there are those in this country who are trying to destroy democracy. The Lavalas party was elected three times by the people, but those in power now used force to overturn democracy and are now trying to destroy Lavalas. They have put many, many in jail like Yvon Neptune, So Anne, Harold Severe, Minister Privert and refuse to follow the law. Now they are trying to silence me and put me in jail. They should be releasing the political prisoners - not try to put more of us in jail!"

When asked about who is responsible for the kidnappings, Fr. Jean-Juste asked, "who started the kidnappings? Who kidnapped our President at gunpoint?

Go ask the ones who profit from that kidnapping who is responsible for kidnappings."

"If we want peace in this country, we must follow the road of wisdom and the road of democracy - everyone must be allowed to participate! The best way for all of us to succeed is to return democracy to our country, return our elected president Aristide, free all the political prisoners, then organize democratic and free elections and have a fair and peaceful passing of power to a newly elected democratic government."

"I thank all who continue to support democracy in Haiti and who are helping me and the oppressed of Haiti. Democracy will return to Haiti. We will be free again!"

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