Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Seton Hall Law School, BAI and IJDH File Inter-American Commission Petition on Behalf of Political Prisoner and Grassroots Activist Bob Moliere

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:�� Jenny-Brooke Condon, Esq.� (973) 642-8463, condonje@shu.edu.
Brian Concannon, Esq., (541) 432-0597, brian@ijdh.org

SETON HALL LAW STUDENTS JOIN WITH TEAM OF INTERNATIONAL ATTORNEYS TO FILE PETITION WITH HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION CHALLENGING HAITI�S YEAR-LONG IMPRISONMENT, TORTURE OF GRASSROOTS POLITICAL ACTIVIST
Citing Violations of Human Rights Law, U.S. Students Shine International Spotlight on Hundreds of Forgotten Political Prisoners
in Haitian Jails Awaiting Justice
Newark, N.J. � Joining forces with a trans-continental team of attorneys, on April 11, 2006, the Seton Hall University School of Law Immigration and Human Rights Clinic filed a Petition before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), challenging the imprisonment without charge of Haitian national, Bob Moli�re.� The petition cites violations of the Haitian Constitution and international human rights treaties, including the American Convention on Human Rights.
The complaint was brought by the Seton Hall Law clinic, the Haiti-based Bureau des Avocats Internationaux, and the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti.
PictureLast spring, the Interim Government of Haiti (�IGH�) arrested Mr. Moli�re, a grassroots activist, without a warrant, tortured him and held him without charges for nearly a year.� During his unlawful detention, Mr. Moli�re endured a grossly overcrowded, unhygienic cell and inadequate food, water, ventilation, and medical treatment. The complaint charges that in violation of Haiti�s Constitution and international law, the IGH imprisoned Mr. Moli�re�and hundreds of other poor Haitian civilians�solely for their political beliefs.
In addition to seeking the immediate release of Mr. Moli�re, Professor Lori Nessel, Director of Seton Hall Law School�s Immigration and Human Rights Clinic explained, Mr. Moli�re�s lawyers also seek to draw international attention to the hundreds of other Haitian political prisoners.� Like Bob Moli�re, these individuals are held in prison without charges or judicial oversight.

�Sadly, the human rights abuses committed by the Interim Government of Haiti against Bob Moli�re are emblematic of the violations committed against hundreds of other poor Haitians civilians on account of their political beliefs,�� Professor Nessel said.� �We resort to the Inter-American Commission to secure the immediate release of Bob Moli�re, and to vindicate the rights of this forgotten class of political prisoners because the Haitian judicial system has failed them.�� Said Patrick Hobbs, Dean of Seton Hall Law School:� �If Haiti is to realize its dream of becoming a functioning democracy, it must start by fulfilling the promise of the rule of law to those in opposition and not just to those in power.�
�Throughout its period of control, the illegitimate government of Haiti has jailed hundreds of poor, grassroots Lavalas supporters without respect for Haitian legal procedures or in conformity with Constitutional protections,�� stated Brian Concannon, Esq., Director of the Institute for Justice and Democracy and Haiti.� �Many prisoners, like Bob Moli�re, have been kept in jail for years without any legal justification.� The interim government has only a month left to do the right thing and release those it has persecuted.�
The petition alleges that:

  • The Interim Government of Haiti violated Mr. Moli�re�s right to personal liberty under the Inter-American Convention on Human Rights by arresting him without a warrant and denying him meaningful judicial process;
  • The Interim Government of Haiti has not produced any evidence of criminal wrongdoing by Mr. Moli�re.� Instead, the IGH has questioned him repeatedly about his political opinions and associations, particularly as they relate to his support for the Famni Lavalas movement;
  • The Haitian police subjected Mr. Moli�re to severe physical abuse that amounted to torture and cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment, including beatings, handcuffing him for days at a time, and stomping on his body;
  • The detention of Mr. Moli�re at Haiti�s National Penitentiary in a grossly overcrowded, unhygienic cell without adequate food, water, ventilation, and medical treatment�conditions described by a U.S. federal court as �reminiscent of a slave ship��violates Mr. Moli�re�s right to humane treatment under the Inter-American Convention on Human Rights.

 

Notes to the editor:
Immigration and Human Rights Clinic of Seton Hall Law School(www.law.shu.edu) the only one if its kind in the state of New Jersey, works primarily on behalf of clients who have fled human rights abuses in their native countries and are seeking political asylum in the United States.� Student attorneys develop and present cases in all areas of immigration and human rights:� they make affirmative applications before immigration officers; attend court hearings in front of immigration judges, and argue before the Board of Immigration Appeals.� In addition to political asylum cases, students have filed habeas corpus petitions in federal district court in cases involving constitutional challenges to INS detention policies.�

The Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) represents political prisoners and other victims of human rights violations in Haitian courts. The BAI’s most successful case to date is the 2000 trial of the Raboteau massacre, which led to the convictions of fifty-three men, including the top military and paramilitary leaders of the 1991-1994 dictatorship. BAI was founded in 1995 and has its main office in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. It is managed by Haitian lawyer Mario Joseph.

The Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) (www.ijdh.org)works with the people of Haiti in their non-violent struggle for the return and consolidation of constitutional democracy, justice and human rights, by distributing objective information on human rights conditions in Haiti, pursuing legal cases, and cooperating with human rights and solidarity groups in Haiti and abroad.

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