HLL Urgent Action Alert: Demand the release of all  political prisoners in Haiti                    Oct 3 2004

News HaitiAction.net

Haitian Lawyers Leadership

Urgent Action Alert
October 2, 2004

Immediate Action Requested

Demand the release of all political prisoners in Haiti, including the 3 Lavalas parliamentarians arrested

The imported Latortue regime has declared war against the vulnerable populations of Bel Air and Cite Soleil for their steadfast, principled and continued demand for the return of Constitutional rule and President Aristide to Haiti.

Latortue's police force in Haiti, its armed paramilitary and masked gang commandos have intensified their repression of the Haitian poor for still, despite tremendous political repression, humiliation and insurmountable grief caused by Coup d'etat and kidnapping of their elected President, continuing to exercise their free speech and right of assembly as evidenced by their huge outpourings and demonstrations against tyranny and dictatorship, held throughout Haiti, on September 30, 2004, the 13th anniversary of the first overthrow of President Aristide.

Today, October 2, 2004, three parliamentarians (Senator Gerald Jilles, Deputy Ruby Herevaux and Senator Yvon Feuille), from the Lavalas party were arbitrarily arrested while appearing on a radio program debate on Radio Caraibes where they were invited to participate with, Ms. Cameau, the official spokesperson for Latortue's policeforce, and two pro-government guests, Evans Paul of the former opposition and Imler Rebu, former colonel for the Haitian army. (See Background Information below for more details.)

We urged all Haiti democracy activists and supporters to the rule of law, decency and justice to demand the immediate release of these Lavalas parliamentarians and a stop to the systemic and brutal repression that is gaining more momentum since the Sept. 30, 2004 mobilization of democracy activists in Haiti.

These latest arrests of Lavalas authorities marks new levels of brutality, impunity and desperation of the U.S.-imported Latortue regime in response to growing popular mobilizations against their illegitimate and ineffectual governance.

We urge our friends and all Haitians abroad not under these guns to send a strong message to the U.S. and U.N. authorities and to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (cidhoea@oas.org )about their continued propping-up, on an unwilling Haitian populace, and with UN-troops, this unelected, unconstitutional and tyrannical regime. These imported authorities working in tandem with UN-US foreign troop, categorically refuse, as was the case following the first Coup d'etat "restoring democracy campaign" in 1994, to disarm the Guy Phillip contingents. The Brazilian-led UN troops along with the Latorture regime are today simply buying time and setting the stage in Haiti for the complete reversal of Democracy's gains these last ten years and for the rebuilding of the old bloody Haitian army and legitimizing of the murderous FRAPH paramilitary henchmen complicit in gross human rights violations.

FAX OR CALL your local Congressional representative and your local and national media about the circumstances (see Background Information and Further Contact Information below) surrounding the latest arrests of Lavalas militants in Haiti.

Write editorials and Op Ed pieces on the truth about Haiti and the consequences of Bush regime change.

The American electorate must be made aware of the U.S. decapitation of democracy in Haiti and disenfranchisement of an entire nation of voters and the total denial of human rights as evidenced by these latest arrests while UN troops simply act as a private security force for the morally repugnant Haitian elite/Group 184 and their imposed and unelected henchmen. 3,000 Haitian prisoners run free in Port-au-Prince, liberated after the February 29, U.S. supported Coup d'etat by Latorture's convicted felons and mass murderers. Some of these felons are forming political parties, taking part as the militia arm or officials of Latortue's Haitian national police. Some are masked commandos and more protected by U.S./UN firepower than Haiti's unarmed, innocent and impoverished civilian population.

The most vulnerable people in the Western Hemisphere, who themselves, after spilling rivers of their own blood following the first overthrow of Constitutional rule, managed to get rid of the bloody U.S.-backed Haitian army; who, though they squat and struggle barefoot for life in Bel Air and Cite Soleil - a threat to no one, had, before February 29, 2004, owned one of two demilitarized democracies in the world, are now, once again being hunted down by said same former Haitian soldiers and their bourgeoisie co-horts, again backed by UN/US superpower gunfire.

These courageous heros and sheroes need your help.

  • Please ask your Congresspeople to call Ambassador James Foley and the UN Officials in Haiti!
  • Demand an end to the brutal repression and persecution of pro-democracy activists and the immediate release of all the political prisoners.

U.S. Ambassador to Haiti: James B. Foley

  • PHONE: 011.222.0200 OR 011.222.0354 FAX: 011.509.223-9038 OR 011.509.223.1641

Call and write to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights cidhoea@oas.org

UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH)

  • PHONE: 011.509.244.9650.9660 FAX: 011.509.244.9366/67
  • Kofi Annan's Special UN Envoy to Haiti: Mr. Juan Gabriel Valdes
  • UN Military Commander in Haiti: Lt. General Augusto Heleno Ribeiro Pereira
  • UN Commissioner for Human Rights in Haiti

Please Fax the MINUSTAH office Attention to the 3 listed above.
Better yet, send 3 separate letters addressing them individually.


Eduardo Bertoni, the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Cidhexpresion@oas.org

Background Information:

September 30, 2004 marked the 13th anniversary of the Haitian army and FRAPH'S first overthrow, by Coup d'etat, of Haiti's democratically elected President, Jean Betrand Aristide. To pay respects to the more than 5,000 victims of the 1991 Coup d'etat, Lavalas organizers took out a demonstration permit and proceeded to peacefully march and demonstrate, this past Thursday, September 30, 2004, to remember the heavy price paid for Haiti's democracy, now decapitated, once again, by the current U.S.-backed regime change. Demonstrators who are most affected by the reversal in government sponsored social welfare programs and priorities , a reversal ushered in by the Coup d'etat, affecting literacy programs, health care, housing, enforcement of labor laws, support for a domestic economy, et al, spilled onto to streets demanding a reversal of this second Coup d'etat, return of President Aristide and the Constitutional government, release of all the political prisoners and a stop to the repression of children's right to an education, labor activists activities and Lavalas supporters.

Conservative estimates report that on September 30, 2004, at least 10,000 Haitians took to the streets in Port-au-Prince demanding the return of President Aristide and the rule of law. Some grassroots organizers in Haiti report there was three, four times that amount of people in the streets before the Haitian police ambushed the Cite Soleil contingent early on, forcibly dispersing these demonstrators before they could get to the main body of the demonstration.

In Cap Haitien, on September 30th, the stronghold of the assassin and cop killer, Guy Phillip, the numbers of people demonstrating for the return of the rule of law and the Constitutional government surpassed 25,000 people.

The great numbers of people on the streets demonstrating against the imported regime surprised the de facto regime, their technocrats and international backers, who may have been hoping to use the flood disasters in Gonaive and the Artibonite areas to rally more international support and finances into their coffers while deflecting the political and human rights disaster issues. Thus, ever since these 30th of September activities, the illegitimate but U.S.-U.N. troop-backed Latortue government has redoubled its efforts to persecute the impoverished majority in Haiti who still, despite all the grief they have endured these last seven months with over 3,000 killed after the coup d'etat, 3,000 dead during the first hurricane and now 2,000 in Gonaives, still manage to utter their support and call for the return of President Aristide and still steadfastly demand, even if its with their last breathe, respect for their vote, voice and that their human rights and right to self-determination be taken into account.

In the course of last Thursday's Sept. 30th demonstration in Port-au-Prince, on at least two reported instances, the U.S.-backed Latortue police force shot directly at the unarmed and peaceful demonstrators in an efforts to disperse and disband the legally permitted gathering and stop the demonstration.

At least four Lavalas demonstrators are reported dead from these Haitian police shootings. The four died in the neighborhood of Cite Soleil as the demonstrators where making their way towards Bel Air to join the other marchers on their pre-approved and authorized route. Reports from leaders on the ground indicate that the 4 fallen victims of Latortue's police goons are: Maxo Casseus, Wilson Jean Baptise, Clercine Ademar and Sonson. The Haitian police shot these four unarmed demonstrators.

The second reported incident of Haitian police shooting of unarmed demonstrators also occurred on September 30, 2004, but near the "Contribwitsyon" around Rue Paul VI, that is, near the Tax Office (DGE - Direction Des Empots) around street Paul VI.

Demonstrators our sources spoke to on the phone from Haiti, who were present when the Rue Paul Vi incident occurred allege that they were attacked here by Haitian police officer from the special CIMO SWAT team. This special police unit was in two pick-up trucks allegedly that came from the Minister of the Interior.
Eyewitnesses reporting to radio stations throughout the Diaspora in the U.S. stated publicly that the pick-up truck officers, who shot into the crowd, consisted of Haitian police along with "civilian army of the bourgeoisie group 184's private security force".

It is not known how many died in this second shooting. Witnesses report ambulances took away the dead bodies for disposal and disclaimer as has been the common practice throughout this second Coup d'etat's reign. But it is reported that no less than 15 demonstrators have been wounded by these flying Haitian police bullets.

Yesterday, October 2, 2004, heavily armed Haitian police tried to enter Bel Air to conduct more cracks downs and were met with resistance. People in Bel Air remember well how they were attacked, after the first major demonstration in Port-au-Prince immediately following the February 29, 2004 Coup d'etat, with the numbers massacred by the U.S. marines and Haitian police force vacillating from 6 dead to up to 72 dead. Bel Air resisted UN and Haitian police crack down last night and no one knows yet the numbers killed or arrested in this raid, except that is reported that Leslie Gustave, an organizational leader of the September 30, 2004 and Oct. 1. 2004 call for return of President Aristide and reversal of the second Coup d'etat, was arrested.

The illegitimate Latortue, it is reported, has publicly stated in reference to
the September 30th and Oct 1, demonstrations, on radio and other news outlets that his regime will hunt down and put all demonstration leaders and their supporters in jail.

The mainstream media has reported that at least three Haitian police have been killed. Grassroots organizers we spoke to have indicated that the identity of these police officers have not been released by the Latortue regime so they have doubts as to the legitimacy of this claim. Others have reported, (See Haiti Information Project report, entitled "UN/Brazilian Troops stand-by as Haitian police provoke violence" dated Saturday, Oct. 1, 2004, that the police shot by demonstrators where shot as a result of their shooting first into the crowd.)

It is within this climate that today, Saturday, Oct. 2, 2004 that the three Lavalas leaders and one of their attorneys was arrested and jailed.

The Radio Caraibes seige by Haitian police and subsequent arrests: It is reported that Senator Yvon Feuille from the Fanmi Lavalas party was invited, by the pro-government radio station, Radio Caraibes, to come and participate in a debate with pro-government and former opposition representatives and respond to the allegation of rioting, violence and disorderly behavior by the Lavalas demonstrators these last three days. The spokesperson for the Latortue police force, Ms. Cameau, was present at the interview, along with Evans Paul of the former opposition and Emler Rebu, a former colonel in the disbanded Haitian army. The radio program they were debating on at Radio Caraibe is called "Ramase."

During the course of this debate, where Senator Yvon Feuille was fairly outnumbered, two other Lavalas parliamentarian went to Radio Caraibes and were invited to also participate in the discussion about the demonstrations and killings and crack-downs: Senator Gerald Jilles and Deputy Ruby Herevaux. The program "Ramase" on Radio Caraibe was scheduled to run from 8 am to 10 am and sometimes, in the past, had gone on, for as long as 12 o'clock.

Apparently and for unknown reasons, the official Latortue police spokesperson, Ms. Cameau, left the broadcast discussions before it ended. Sometime after Ms. Cameau's departure, masked men, heavily armed Haitian commandos with masks/hoods over their heads descended on Radio Caraibes, demanding that the debate participants from the Lavalas party be handed over to them.

The administrators at the radio station refuse to let in these masked Haitian police gunmen and refused to hand over the Lavalas parliamentarians.

The siege on Radio Caraibe by the Haitian authorities was captured on the radio interview and has been rebroadcast internationally on radio stations throughout the Haitian Diaspora globally and on the Internet. While these pro-Latortue government masked commandos were being refused entrance to the station under siege, the official Haitian police arrived at Radio Caraibes. They came with a Justice of the Peace, a certain Judge Amboise in tow and also, along with the mask gunmen, demanded to arrest Lavalas representatives.

Troops from the United Nation's Stabilization Mission (MINUSTAH) also arrived with the Haitian police. There was no warrant. After much stalemate and back and forth, and where Haitian police and UN troops blocked off the roads leading to the station, it is alleged that the police broke down the door of Radio Caraibes against the wishes of the Radio station director. It has been reported that once the doors were open, then, Judge Amboise, the Juge de Paix (Justice of the Peace) wrote a "proces verbal", at the request of the Parliamentarian's lawyer, in which Judge Amboise, allegedly admitted that he gave the order to break down the doors, and make the arrests after he had been given a verbal order from the Haitian police - Commissaire du Gouvernement - to do so!

The police who made the arrest were from the Commisariat of Port-au-Prince. The three elected representatives of the overthrown Constitutional government, Senator Yvon Feuille, Senator Gerald Jilles and Deputy Ruby Herevaux were all placed under arrests. None of the pro-government guests participating in the Radio debate were arrested.

Along with the three elected parliamentarians, also arrested was the lawyer for Senator Yvon Feuille, attorney Axene Joseph.

Apparently, when attorney Axene Joseph heard of the Caraibes radio siege and Haitian police surrounding the Caraibes radio station and their attempts to arrest his client, Senator Yvon Feuille, he had rushed down to the station to offer his representation and to try and assure due process protection for his client.

Our on-the-ground-sources report that a pro-Latortue vigilante mob that had gathered at the station insisted that the Haitian police also arrest the lawyer. Thus, attorney Axene Joseph was summarily put under arrest and carted off with the three parliamentarians, while the UN "peacekeeping" troops provided gunfire and military cover against these unarmed men.

Senator Yvon Feuille, Senator Gerald Gilles, Deputy Ruby Herevaux, attorney Axene Joseph, Grassroots organizer Leslie Gustave, have all joined the growing list of political prisoners in Haiti along with Prime Minister Yvon Neptune, So Ann, and Jocelyn Privert to name a few.

This is the sort of "democracy", "peacekeeping" "security and justice" that has replaced Constitutional rule in Haiti.

Immediate action is needed to stop this brutal violation of Haitian civil rights, freedom of assembly and free speech.

The Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network denounces these arrests in the strongest of terms and urges all Haiti pro-democracy activists and supporters to help us tell the truth about what is happening today in Haiti and hidden behind the headlines (see, Haiti Action Committee at www.haitiaction.net)

Please call your Congresspeople and urge them to send a delegation to Haiti immediately to help release Haiti's political prisoners and these three parliamentarians who were simply responding to an invitation to debate and are now arrested arbitrarily and without cause.

Write to your local and national papers and protest this most disturbing pattern and single-minded focus on arresting primarily Lavalas voices with well-known popular support base and credible reputations. This pattern is continuing even under the new U.N/Brazilian led troops, as evidence by their participation in the current hunt into Bel Air on Oct. 2, 2004 and today's Radio Caraibes seige and forced hand-over of Lavalas radio guests exercising their freedom of speech.

Please contact Kofi Annan at the UN, the Brazilian Mission at the UN, contact Ambassador James Foley directly at the US Embassy in Port-au-Prince, call on Secretary of State Colin Powell at the US State Department in Washington, call the State Department (Haiti desk) and contact your Senators and Representatives. Call early and call often.

Raise your voices to protest the illegal arrest of Senator Yvon Feuille, Senator Gerald Jilles and Deputy Ruby hereveaux and the lawyer, Axene Joseph in contravention of Haitian and international law. Protest the pattern of arresting Lavalas supporters and officials while Guy Phillipe, Jean Tatoune and other known drug dealers and convicted murderers run free in Haiti. Denounce the un-reported mass killings of Haitian civilians by the mainstream media (over 3,000 dead) since the U.S-supported Coup D'etat, the reprisals, continued illegal arrests of popular leaders in the Lavalas party and this current hunt, announced by the Latorture regime against participants in the September 30th, 2004 demonstrations.

We are the only calvary. The people in Bel Air, Cite Soleil and throughout Haiti's poor neighborhood have no voice in their own government and country.

Call, fax and write your local and national papers and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (cidhoea@oas.org)

Demand a stop to these systematic witch hunts for only Lavalas officials in Haiti and the immediate release of these courageous Haitian legislators who simply went to talk on a radio station, knowing the dangers of arbitrary arrest and murder. But who nonetheless went to express their wish for a stop to the pattern of injustice since the February 29, 2004 Coup d'etat: the killing of unarmed demonstrators by Haitian police and their paramilitary allies, the brutal midnight raids in Cite Soleil and Bel Air, and the countless terrorizing, arbitrary and warrantless political arrests.

Let us not be overcomed by the overwhelming evil we see the people of Haiti experiencing at the hands of the rich and military powerful. But instead, agitate peacefully but forcefully, using the tools of democracy, for a return to civility as the norm and to the movement towards the rule of law, security and peace.

Marguerite Laurent, JD
Founder, Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network

Pierre Labossiere
Founder, Haiti Action Committee

Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine
Director, Fondasyon Trant Septanm


Kofi Annan Secretary General United Nations New York, NY USA 212-963-5012

Ambassador James B. Foley
U.S. Embassy, Port-au-Prince, Haiti
phone: 509.223.7011 or 509.222.0200
fax: 509.223.9665
email: acspap@state.gov
Address and additional phones

Colin Powell, U.S. Secretary of State fax: 202.647.2283 or 202.647.5169
phone: 202.647.5291 or 202.647.7098
email: contact here

Haiti Desk Officers, U.S. State Department:
Joseph Tilghman
fax: 202.647.2901
phone: 202.647.5088
email: tilghmanjf@state.gov

Lawrence Connell
fax: 202.647.2901
phone: 202.647.6765
email: ConnellLF@state.gov

Write your representative
Contact your congressional representatives by State at: Or, use the NYT elected representative guide to get contact info on your U.S. Congressional rep by zip code. Be sure to e-mail the mail the NY Times also.

Key Media Contacts

San Francisco Chronicle: letters@sfchronicle.com
* Letters editor: (415) 777-7176 or (415) 543-7708 (fax)

Reuters: www.reuters.com click on "contact us"
* American's Desk: (202) 898-8300 or (202) 898-8300

New York Times: Web online letter or eMail letters@nytimes.com
* Foreign Desk: (212) 556-7415 * Reporters who write on Haiti: LYDIA POLGREEN and TIM WEINER

Associated Press: pr@ap.org
or e-mail Ms. Paisley Dodd at pdodds@ap.org
* International Desk: (212) 621-1663

Miami Herald Letters to the Editor or eMail HeraldEd@herald.com

Washington Times
* Foreign Desk: (202) 636-3222 * Reporter who writes on Haiti: Sibylla Brodzinsky

Washington Post
* Foreign Desk: (202) 334-7400 * Reporters who write on Haiti: Kevin Sullivan and Scott Wilson

LA Times
* Foreign Desk: (213) 237-4413 * Reporter who writes on Haiti: Carol J. Williams

* Foreign Desk: (212) 456-2800NBC
* Foreign Desk: (201) 583-5777CBS
* Foreign Desk: (212) 975-3019CNN
* International Desk: (404) 827-1519 * State Department Correspondent: Andrea Koppel (202)898-7515NPR
* Foreign Desk: (202) 513-2299

Key Congressional and Government Phone Numbers
* Congressional Switchboard - 800-839-5276 or 202-224-3121 * Nancy Pelosi - (SF) 415-556-4862; (DC) 202-225-4965 * Dianne Feinstein - (SF) 415-249-4777; (DC) 202-224-3841 * Barbara Boxer - (SF) 415-403-0100; (DC) 202-224-3553

* White House Comment line - 202-456-1111

* US State Department - 202-647-5291 or 202-647-7098(phone) * 202-647-2283 or 202-647-5169 (fax)

Addresses for Letter to the Editor:

New York Times:
Letters to the Editor
The New York Times
229 West 43rd Street
New York, NY 10036
fax (212)556-3622.

Washington Post:
Letters to the Editor
The Washington Post
1150 15th Street Northwest
Washington, DC 20071

Associated Press:
Michelle Faul

National Public Radio
Comment Line: 202 513-3232 weekdays 10:00am-5:00pm (sometimes they play these on the air).

Morning Edition: Morning@npr.org

All Things Considered: atc@npr.org
send copies of all comments on reporting to ombudsman@npr.org


Boston Globe:
Letters to the Editor
The Boston Globe
P.O. Box 2378
Boston, MA 02107-2378
Or by fax to (617) 929-2098

Los Angeles Times:

Miami Herald:
The Readers' Forum
The Miami Herald
One Herald Plaza

Miami, Florida 33132-1693
Fax: (305) 376-8950
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

democrat, democrats, convention, democratic convention, national convention, democratic national convention, rod o'connor, terry mcauliffe, dnc, dnc convention, bill richardson, john kerry, kerry, kerry convention, boston, boston convention, dems, dem convention, dems convention, dem. convention, democratic, alice huffman, dncc, d.n.c.c., democratic national convention committee, official site, official site of the democratic national convention committee John Kerry Dennis Kucinich Al Sharpton Gar