Congresswoman Waters and 30 other members sign letter to Colin Powell
October 27, 2004
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For Immediate Release (323) 757-8900

October 27, 2004, 5:00 p.m.


Washington, D.C. -- Today, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) sent a letter to Secretary of State Colin Powell, urging him to call for the release of political prisoners who are being unlawfully detained in Haiti, including Father Gerard Jean-Juste, Senator Yvon Feuillé, Deputy Rudy Hérivaux, Prime Minister Yvon Neptune, Interior Minister Jocelerme Privert and Anne Auguste. Thirty of the Congresswoman's colleagues signed her letter. The text of the letter follows:

We are writing to express our deep concerns about the continuing pattern of human rights violations committed by the Interim Government of Haiti. We are especially concerned about the recent arrests of several community leaders who remain illegally detained in prison in violation of Haitian law.

On October 2, Haitian police forcibly entered Haiti's Radio Caraibes and arrested two Senators, Yvon Feuillé and Gerard Gilles, and a former deputy from the Lavalas party, Rudy Hérivaux, who criticized the Interim Government during a radio program. When a lawyer arrived at the radio station to represent these individuals, he too was arrested. All four individuals were arrested without warrants. The lawyer and Senator Gilles were released three days later, but Senator Feuillé and Deputy Hérivaux remain in prison without charges, in violation of Haitian law.

On October 13, 2004, Haitian police arrested Father Gerard Jean-Juste, the pastor of Saint Claire Church in Haiti, while he was feeding impoverished children in his church. Father Jean-Juste is a widely-respected advocate for peace and justice in Haiti and the rights of Haitian immigrants in the United States. Like Senator Feuillé and Deputy Hérivaux, Father Jean-Juste was arrested without a warrant. He remains illegally detained in prison on bogus charges.

Senator Yvon Feuillé, Deputy Rudy Hérivaux, and Father Gerard Jean-Juste join many Lavalas supporters and critics of the current government who already are in prison. Among the most prominent individuals imprisoned in Haiti today are former Prime Minister Yvon Neptune, who was arrested on June 27, 2004, former Interior Minister Jocelerme Privert, who was arrested on April 6, 2004, and the well-known Haitian singer and community activist Anne Auguste (So Anne), who was arrested on May 10, 2004. All of these individuals remain illegally detained in prison.

We urge you to call for the release of Senator Feuillé, Deputy Hérivaux, Father Jean-Juste, Prime Minister Neptune, Interior Minister Privert, Anne Auguste, and all political prisoners and imprisoned community leaders who have not been charged, or are not being lawfully detained, under Haitian law. Our government should be doing all that it can to ensure that the Interim Government of Haiti abides by the rule of law and respects the human rights of the Haitian people.


Maxine Waters
John Conyers
Barbara Lee
Jan Schakowsky
James Oberstar
Sam Farr
Barney Frank
Raul Grijalva
Donald Payne
Stephanie Tubbs Jones
Eddie Bernice
Johnson Lois Capps
Dennis Kucinich
Juanita Millender-McDonald
Edolphus Towns
Danny K. Davis
Chaka Fattah
Major Owens
Bobby L. Rush
Eni Faleomavaega
Maurice Hinchey
Sheila Jackson-Lee
Corrine Brown
Eleanor Holmes Norton
John Lewis
Joseph Hoeffel
Diane E. Watson
Artur Davis
Lynn Woolsey
Dennis Cardoza
James P. McGovern

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