Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Human Rights First Calls on Haiti’s Minister of Justice to Release Fr. Jean Juste

Henri Dorl�ans

Ministre de la Justice et de la S�curit� Publique

Minist�re de la Justice

19 Avenue Charles Summer, Port-au-Prince, Ha�ti

Dear Minister Dorl�ans:

We write to urge the immediate release of Father G�rard Jean-Juste, who hasbeen imprisoned in the Haitian National Penitentiary since July 21, 2005.

On January 19, 2006, we learned that Judge Jean P�r�s Paul, Juge d�Instruction, had dismissed the murder and kidnapping charges against Father Jean-Juste on which he had been held since July 2005, as well as murder andinternal security charges which had been pending since October 2004.

�Although Judge Paul did charge Father Jean-Juste with new crimes, it is our understanding that the charges involved � association de malfaiteurs and illegal weapons possession � are not justified by the facts found in the judge�s ordonnance. These new charges appear to fit closely within a pattern of judicial persecution that Father Jean-Juste has endured for over fifteen months.

�As you know, Father Jean-Juste�s doctors and an independent medical exam have concluded beyond a doubt that Father Jean-Juste suffers from leukemia. In order to combat the disease, Father Jean-Juste requires sophisticated medical treatment that he cannot receive in the Haitian National Penitentiary.� Furthermore, if he remains in prison, Father Jean-Juste could be exposed to a variety of infections. Physicians indicate that for an individual with leukemia, even a simple infection can be life threatening. The only way to ensure that Father Jean-Juste�s life is not lost while he is incarcerated in Haiti is if he is released and allowed to seek proper medical care.

�The Commissaire du Gouvernement, who works under your Ministry, has the power to order Father Jean-Juste�s release for medical treatment. Father Jean- Juste is an excellent candidate for provisional release, as he has consistently appeared whenever the police or courts summoned him.

�Father Jean-Juste is regarded by international human rights organizations like Human Rights First as an important and dedicated activist. Thousands of individuals from around the world have joined these organizations in calling for Father Jean- Juste�s release. Members of the United States Congress also recognize the injustice of Father Jean-Juste�s continued incarceration and have expressed their concern that he continues to languish in prison despite his health condition.

�Once again, we urge you to release Father Jean-Juste from prison immediately.�

�Sincerely,

Neil Hicks

Director, International Programs

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