by Fr. Gerard Jean-Juste by way of Bill Quigley [Fr. Gerard Jean-Juste, an outspoken advocate for
democracy and human rights, especially for the poor,
has been in prison in Haiti without written charges
since July 21, 2005. This message comes by way of
Bill Quigley a law professor at Loyola University New
Orleans in the US who is volunteering to assist Mario
Jospeh, his lead Haitian lawyer. Mr. Joseph is a
lawyer with BAI in Port au Prince. Bill is
volunteering with the Institute of Justice and
Democracy in Haiti.]Port au Prince Haiti – Haiti National Penitentiary
Brothers and sisters around the world, allow me to
thank you for what you have done for me personally,
and what you have done for the poor ones I serve and
stand with, for all prisoners, especially the
political prisoners of Haiti.
I know that thousands of you are advocating on my
behalf. People from Haiti, from the US, from Brazil,
Canada, Germany, France, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica,
Nicaragua and the Netherlands have sent letters and
faxes to the US Embassy and the Haitian government
trying to free me and to bring democracy and human
rights back to Haiti.
Hundreds of churches and organizations who are
helping out – I thank you. I especially thank the 29
members of US Congress who signed a letter for me. I
read the letter and you are so strong and clear. Well
said! I wish our church leaders were so strong and
I must tell you I am not doing well physically. I
was almost dead Sunday morning. I fell unconscious
for some time but was rescued when some of the other
prisoners took me on their backs to the dispensary.
God sends me back to you! I do not know what
happened. My neck hurts, my skin is very bad and I
ache a lot. I need medical attention. But I am glad
to be alive and join all of you in the struggle for
freedom and real democracy.
My cell is 8 by 2 and is very hot and smelly. We
have a bathroom in the hall that works when there is
water. There are no beds. I sleep on a one inch
thick mat on the floor. Yet I am very thankful to God
who allows me to wake up to another life.
I now have discovered so much support for the
Haitian people and me from people all over the world.
I am in awe. I add my strength to those who stand all
over the world for the rights of everyone whatever
color, whatever creed, whatever nationality. To Cite
Soleil, to Bel-Air, Veye Yo, the 10th department, the
Lavalas family, to all of you around the world, to the
churches especially my own St. Clare’s, I say to you
“Chapo Ba!” (I tip my hat!)
There is a great fraternity in jail and with the
poor. In jail we pray loudly – day and night.
Our spirits are uplifted when we hear about your
work for Haiti, because we hear hope coming. We hear
hope coming and we know our victory for human rights
and respect and democracy will be total one day.
Personally, regardless of all the hardship, I am
still joining my voice to the voices of all democracy
lovers to demand the return of constitutional order in
Haiti, the physical return of our elected president
Aristide, release of all political prisoners, respect
of all human rights, and if that is done then real
elections can happen.
Keep up the advocacy. Keep up the peaceful
demonstrations. Keep up the prayers.
Ill and in jail, I humbly add my suffering to
those of Jesus to hasten peace and justice and love