For Immediate Release Contact: Mikael Moore
October 21, 2005 (202) 225-2201
CONGRESSWOMAN WATERS AND 24 OTHER MEMBERS OF CONGRESS
ASK PRESIDENT BUSH TO URGE THE INTERIM GOVERNMENT OF HAITI
TO RELEASE FORMER PRIME MINISTER YVON NEPTUNE
Washington, D.C. — Today, Rep. Maxine Waters (DCA) sent a letter to President Bush,
asking him to urge the interim government of Haiti to release former Prime Minister Yvon Neptune from prison and respect the rights of all criminal defendants. A total of 25 Members of Congress signed the Congresswoman’s letter. Copies of the letter were sent to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Ambassador Timothy M. Carney, the U.S. Ambassador to Haiti. The text of the letter follows:
We write to express our deep concern over recent developments in the case of former Prime Minister Yvon Neptune, who has been unjustly imprisoned in Haiti for over a year.
Judge Cluny Pierre Jules issued an order last month to indict former Prime Minister Neptune and about 30 other individuals on charges of participation in an alleged massacre in Saint-Marc. The order allows former Prime Minister Neptune and all of the other accused individuals to be tried without a jury. The trial would take place before a single judge who would not only rule on the guilt of the defendants but also decide their sentences. Judge Jules’ decision is a violation of the Haitian Constitution, which gives defendants in cases of alleged “blood crimes” (crimes resulting in death) the right to a trial by jury.
For former Prime Minister Neptune to be brought to trial without a jury would be a travesty of justice. A criminal trial before a single judge would allow for the manipulation of the judicial system – subjecting the former prime minister to nothing more than a show-trial. If Mr. Neptune is wrongly convicted, the resulting injustice will have far reaching consequences. Mr. Neptune has already been detained illegally for over a year and he should be immediately and unconditionally released.
We implore you to urge the interim government to release Prime Minister Neptune and respect the rights of all criminal defendants. We appreciate your attention to our concerns, and we await your response.
Maxine Waters Mark Foley
William Delahunt Barbara Lee
Sherrod Brown Charles Rangel
Major R. Owens Donald Payne
Edolphus Towns Melvin L. Watt
Lynn Woolsey Bobby L. Rush
John Conyers Maurice Hinchey
Corrine Brown Jan Schakowsky
Kendrick B. Meek Raúl Grijalva
Donna Christensen Dennis Kucinich
Robert Wexler Joseph Crowley
Diane Watson Wm. Lacy Clay
Eleanor Holmes Norton