Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Half-Hour for Haiti: Write to Haiti’s Minister of Justice


Update: Thank you to everyone who urged U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow to forgive Haiti�s Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) debt. Jubilee USA welcomed the creation of an IDB committee to study the issue, but warned that IDB Debt Deal Needed in Weeks, not Months; Delays Cost Lives.

Upcoming Events: The second round of Haiti�s legislative elections is April 21. On May 2 in Boston, Partners In Health is screening �Aristide and the Endless Revolution� at the Museum of Fine Arts, followed by a panel discussion with Dr. Paul Farmer and Brian Concannon. The same evening in Washington DC, TransAfrica Forum is discussing Dr. Farmer�s �The Uses of Haiti� and a Haitian film TBA at its Cabral/Truth Circle.� The Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network�s International Solidarity Day With Haiti is May 18, 2006.

Political Prisoners: The Interim Government of Haiti has not released any political prisoners since Fr. Jean-Juste was freed two months ago, and sometimes it seems like we are banging our heads against the wall. But Fr. Gerry and the 19 people freed in 2005 demonstrate that we can sometimes make a difference, and the activists in Haiti are certainly not giving up: the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) keeps fighting in the courts and the Kolektif Fanmy Prizonye (Prisoners� Families� Collective) persistently protests every Tuesday at the courthouse, prosecutor�s office or Ministry of Justice (see �report on demonstration and photos).

The image �http://www.ijdh.org/BOBMOLIERE.JPG� cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.We often focus on prominent political prisoners who are more likely to attract public attention, but it is important to remember that the vast majority of Haiti�s political prisoners are poor, grassroots activists with few resources and often little support outside of their neighborhoods. One such person is Bob Moli�re (pictured) a second-hand mattress salesman and grassroots Lavalas activist, who helped organize peaceful demonstrations for the return of democracy until he was arrested illegally on April 18, 2005.

Mr. Moli�re has been held for a year, during which time the government has not presented a shred of evidence of any criminal activity, but has beaten and otherwise tortured him and interrogated him about his political activities. In the meantime Bob�s business failed, making life particularly difficult for his wife, who gave birth to a boy on Christmas Day that Bob has yet to see. He has not seen his six-year old daughter in a year, she keeps asking whether her father is dead.

Yesterday Seton Hall Law School, the BAI and IJDH filed a Petition to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on Mr. Moli�re�s behalf, seeking a declaration that his detention is unlawful (see the press release ).

This Week�s Action: Add your voice to those of the Kolektif Fanmy Prizonye and Bob�s lawyers, by writing to Minister of Justice, Henri Dorl�ans. Sample letters are below in French (thanks to Jean-Francois Corbett) �and English (as always, feel free to customize it). You can send the letters by regular mail, or you can send them to us by fax: (206) 350-7986 (a U.S. number) or email: avokahaiti@aol.com, and we will ensure that they are delivered.


April 11, 2006
Me. Henri Dorl�ans
Ministre de la Justice et de la S�curit� Publique
Minist�re de la Justice
19 Avenue Charles Sumner
Port-au-Prince, Ha�ti

Monsieur le Ministre:

When you were installed as Minister of Justice last June, you affirmed the importance of the rule of law, and promised to make the justice system become truly an instrument of justice. Your speech brought hope to me, but also to people like Bob Moli�re, a political dissident who at the time had been in prison for two months without any legal justification. But April 18 will mark the one-year anniversary of Mr. Moli�re�s illegal arrest, and he is still in jail despite the fact that no evidence has been presented of any illegal activity.

Ten months after your investiture, I am saddened by the fact that your promises to end judicial persecution in Haiti have yet to be fulfilled. Every organization that has investigated the matter, from the United Nations to Amnesty International to the U.S. Government has documented a pattern of imprisonment of political dissidents in Haiti. I do implore you to use the time you have left before the installation of a new government to free the political prisoners; for their sake, for the sake of justice in Haiti and for your own legacy.

Sincerely,


Me. Henri Dorl�ans
Ministre de la Justice et de la S�curit� Publique
Minist�re de la Justice
19 Avenue Charles Sumner
Port-au-Prince, Ha�ti
Monsieur le ministre,
Lors de votre inauguration au poste de Ministre de la Justice en juin dernier, vous vous �tes prononc� en faveur de l�importance de la pr��minence du droit, et avez promis de faire du syst�me judiciaire un v�ritable instrument de justice. Votre discours d�investiture m�a inspir�, et a suscit� beaucoup d�esp�rance aupr�s de personnes telles que Bob Moli�re, un dissident politique qui, � l��poque, avait d�j� pass� deux mois en prison sans aucune justification l�gale. Toutefois, ce mardi, 18 avril marquera le premier anniversaire de l�arrestation ill�gale de M. Moli�re; il demeure � ce jour prison, malgr� l�absence totale de preuves qui indiqueraient quelque activit� ill�gale que ce soit de sa part.
Dix mois apr�s votre investiture, il me chagrine de constater que vos nobles mots n�aient toujours pas �t�s traduits en agissements concrets, et que la pers�cution judiciaire persiste en Ha�ti. Depuis les Nations Unies jusqu�� Amnistie Internationale, en passant par le gouvernement des Etats-Unis, tous les organismes qui ont fait enqu�te � ce sujet ont constat� et document� l�emprisonnement syst�matique de dissidents politiques en Ha�ti.
� ce titre, je vous implore de faire usage du temps qu�il vous reste avant l�installation d�un nouveau gouvernement pour faire lib�rer les prisonniers politique, pour leur bien, pour le bien de la justice en Ha�ti, et pour l�h�ritage que vous laisserez apr�s votre d�part.
Veuillez agr�er l�expression de mes sentiments les plus distingu�s,
_______________________________________________________
For more information about the Half-Hour for Haiti Program, the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, or human rights in Haiti, see www.ijdh.org. To receive Half-Hour for Haiti Action Alerts once per week, send an email to info@ijdh.org.

Contact IJDH

Institute for Justice & Democracy In Haiti
15 Newbury Street
Boston, MA 02116

Telephone: (617) 652-0876
General Inquiries: info@ijdh.org
Media Inquiries: media@ijdh.org

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