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


PRESS RELEASE

 

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

###