Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Delegation of media directors and civil society representatives unable to meet with Yvon Neptune

Port-au-Prince, 20 July 2006 (AHP) � A delegation of media directors and
other civil-society personalities tried in vain on Thursday to visit
former Prime Minister Yvon Neptune in the National Penitentiary located in
the neighborhood of Pacot.

Yvon Neptune has been on hunger strike for 15-months, that is to say since
the tenth month of his incarceration by the interim regime following
allegations he was implicated in the alleged massacre at �la-Scierie� in
the municipality of Saint-Marc (97 kms to the north of the capital).

Representatives of the National Penitentiary Administration (APENA)
refused access to the group of journalists visiting the prison because a
number of them were armed with cameras.

The secretary general of the Group Defending Political Prisoners (GDP),
Ronald St. Jean who was coordinating this visit, denounced the position of
APENA. According to Mr. St. Jean the justifications invoked by APENA do
not hold since all journalists must have access to detention centers as
part of their work.

Ronald St-Jean promised to meet APENA representatives in order to plan a
new visit to the prison on Friday.

More than a thousand individuals of all tendencies are attempting to
persuade this prisoner of conscience to cut-short his hunger-strike given
the enormous loss that his death would represent for the majority of the
population.

One of the initiators of this movement, the human rights militant Patrick
Elie, stated that Yvon Neptune figures among the country�s most
trustworthy and honest individuals.

A number of human rights organizations denounced the fact that the interim
regime had kept Neptune in prison for two years simply for his political
affiliations, while individuals that were implicated or condemned in
relation to documented crimes including the former head of the FRAPH
paramilitary group and the bandits of the Little Machete Army were
released.

AHP 20 July 2006 1:35 PM

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