Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

ATTACKED AND HARASSED

MARCH 1, 2004
Posted: April 6, 2004

Radio and Télé Ti Moun
Radio Solidarité
ATTACKED AND HARASSED

Anti-Aristide rebels ransacked the offices of Radio and Télé Ti Moun, which belonged to President Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s Foundation for Democracy. Both the radio and television stations had gone off the air shortly before Aristide’s left the country on February 29.

The offices were partially destroyed, but no one was injured in the attack, according to the Haitian Journalists Association (AJH). Some of the journalists working for Radio and Télé Ti Moun received threatening phone calls following the attack.

Radio Solidarité, a pro-Aristide radio station, stopped broadcasting news on March 1 after receiving threatening phone calls. The station resumed broadcast on Monday, April 6, although some of the journalists are still receiving threats, said Guyler Delva, AJH’s secretary general.

Since the uprising that led to Aristide’s ouster began on February 5, pro-Aristide radio stations around the country were attacked. Many journalists working for these stations continue to fear reprisals.

MARCH 7, 2004
Posted: March 8, 2004

Ricardo Ortega, Antena 3
KILLED
Michael Laughlin, Sun Sentinel
ATTACKED

Ortega, 37, correspondent for the Spanish television station Antena 3, was shot twice in the chest when gunmen opened fire on demonstrators in Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince. The demonstrators were calling for the prosecution of former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Ortega was taken to Canape Vert Hospital in Port-au-Prince, where he died an hour later.

Laughlin, 37, a photographer with the Fort Lauderdale, Fla.­based daily Sun Sentinel was hit in his face, neck, and shoulder. He was evacuated from Haiti and flown to a hospital at the U.S. Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Laughlin is in stable condition and expected to be transferred today to a Miami hospital, the Sun Sentinel reported.

According to international press reports, the crowd was dispersing when shots were fired from different directions on the central Champs de Mars plaza. When gunfire erupted, a group of journalists and demonstrators took refuge in the courtyard of a nearby house. Gunmen standing on the roof or on a balcony fired into the courtyard, the Sun Sentinel and Miami Herald reported.

Witnesses said they saw Aristide supporters start the shooting, according to The Associated Press. Four Haitians were killed and dozens were injured during the incident.

MARCH 13, 2004
Posted: March 24, 2004

Elysée Sincére, Radio Vision 2000
ATTACKED

Sincère, a correspondent for the Port-au-Prince-based Radio Vision 2000 in the city of Petit-Goâve, in southwestern Haiti, was attacked by rebels who had forced the ouster of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

According to the Association of Haitian Journalists (AJH), anti-Aristide rebels fired several bullets at Sincère’s home. A relative of Sincere’s was wounded, Sincère’s dog was killed, and his car was burned.

The attack came after the journalist phoned in a report about the presence of armed groups that are vying to control the city despite the fact that a new Haitian government was formed on March 17. In his report, Sincère said that two people had been killed in clashes between an armed group close to rebel leader Guy Philipe and another group close to the National Democratic Movement (MDN), an opposition political party.

Sincère also reported that there were several weapon caches in Petit-Goâve. Sincère said his news report angered anti-Aristide rebels, according to the AJH.

The journalist lives with his father, Montigène Sincère, who is a correspondent for the U.S.-government-funded broadcast service Voice of America in Petit-Goâve and an MDN member.

MARCH 30, 2004
Posted: April 12, 2004

Lyonel Lazarre, Radio Solidarité and Agence Haïtienne de Presse
ATTACKED

Lazarre, a correspondent for the Port-au-Prince–based Radio Solidarité and the news agency Agence Haïtienne de Presse in the southern city of Jacmel, was abducted and beaten by a group of former Haitian soldiers after he reported alleged abuses by police forces in the neighboring town of Belle-Anse. Lazarre was released the next day.

According to the Haitian Journalists Association (AJH), Radio Express Continental, a small private station in Jacmel, broadcast the journalist’s report.

After beating Lazarre, the kidnappers forced him to tell them the location of Jacky Jean Baptiste, a correspondent for pro-Aristide radio station Radio Ginen who was also accused of criticizing police abuses in the area. Fearing for his life, Baptiste went into hiding, Guyler Delva, AJH’s secretary general told CPJ.

Since the uprising that led to Aristide’s ouster began on February 5, pro-Aristide radio stations around the country have been attacked. Many journalists working for these stations continue to fear reprisals.

APRIL 16, 2004
Posted: May 3, 2004

Jeanty André Omilert, Radio Solidarité and Radio Excellesior
KIDNAPPED

Omilert, correspondent for the Port-au-Prince­based Radio Solidarité and a reporter for radio Excellesior in the city of Mirebalais, in central Haiti, was abducted by a group of former soldiers and illegally detained at the local police station. The journalist was released on Monday, April 19.

Former members of the Haitian military kidnapped Omilert in front of radio Excellesior without giving any reason. According to CPJ sources, the former soldiers were angered by Omilert’s reports about insecurity and the unstable political situation in the region.

Guyler Delva, president of the Haitian Journalists Association (AJH), and Geffrard Bien-Aimé, news director of Radio Solidarité, claimed that the detention was illegal and said that former soldiers have no authority to make arrests. During Omilert’s detention, family members were not allowed to visit him.

Since the uprising that ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide on February 29, former soldiers have taken control of the city of Mirebalais and are acting as de facto local authorities. Journalists that criticize the actions of illegal armed groups fear reprisals.

MAY 15, 2004
Posted: May 26, 2004

Charles Edmond Prosper, Radio Tropic FM

KIDNAPPED

Prosper, correspondent for Radio Tropic FM in the city of Mirebalais, Central Plateau Region, in central Haiti, was abducted by a group of former Haitian soldiers. The reporter was illegally detained in a local police station until his release on May 17.
The group, led by a man named Emmanuel Philippe who proclaims himself to be the military commander of the area, kidnapped Prosper for broadcasting reports about the volatile political situation and the lack of police presence in the region, according to local press reports.

The soldiers also accused Prosper, who received threats in the weeks before his abduction, of being close to the Fanmi Lavalas political party.
Guyler C. Delva, the secretary-general of Haitian Journalists’ Association, told CPJ that armed men are harassing journalists who work for pro-Lavalas radio stations in Central Plateau Region.

On April 16, Jeanty André Omilert, correspondent for the Port-au-Prince-based Radio Solidarité and a reporter for Radio Excellesior in Mirebalais, was also abducted by a group of former soldiers and illegally detained at the local police station. The journalist was released on Monday, April 19.

MAY 28, 2004
Posted: June 2, 2004

Aryns Laguerre, Télé Ti Moun
IMPRISONED

Police arrested Laguerre, a cameraman with the television station Télé Ti Moun, in the capital, Port-au-Prince. Télé Ti Moun is owned by the Aristide Foundation for Democracy, which was founded by former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

According to Guyler Delva, secretary-general of the Haitian Journalists Association, Laguerre is being held without charge.

Delva met with police officers on May 29 who said they found four bullets in one of Laguerre’s pockets, and that he was being detained for further investigation. Laguerre denied that he was carrying any bullets, according to Delva. The Haitian government has given no explanation about the arrest.

CPJ tried to reach Justice Minister Bernard Gousse and police Chief Leon Charles, but they were unavailable for comment.

AUGUST 30, 2004
Posted: October 4, 2004

Lyonel Louis, Haiti en Marche
ATTACKED

Louis, a photographer with the Port-au-Prince-based weekly Haiti en Marche, was attacked and severely beaten by a gang believed to be loyal to former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Louis was covering the visit of a French minister to a hospital in the Cite Soleil slum, in Haiti’s capital.

While Renaud Muselier, France’s secretary of state for foreign affairs, and a delegation of French officials were inside St. Catherine’s Hospital, gunmen opened fire outside, sparking a gun battle that left one gang member dead and a French soldier wounded, according to local and international press reports.

Gang members armed with rocks and sticks chased and beat Louis in the head. According to Marcus Garcia, Haiti en Marche’s co-editor, Brazilian soldiers with the United Nations peacekeeping force helped the photographer and took him to a hospital to treat his wounds.

Garcia told CPJ that the attackers had accused Louis and other journalists covering the visit of the French delegation of working for the Group of 184, an alliance of civil society organizations and political parties that organized demonstrations against Aristide and his Lavalas Party beginning in 2003.

Cite Soleil, one of Haiti’s poorest neighborhoods, remains an Aristide stronghold. Militants are still resisting the government of Gérard Latortue, which assumed power after Aristide left Haiti on February 29 amid a rebellion.

 

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