Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Half-Hour for Haiti: Insist on a Fair Trial for Annette Auguste and Her Co-Defendants

Aug 8, 2006

Update: Some good news in the case of Annette Auguste and the five other defendants charged in connection with the December 2003 events at the State University: their case has been set for trial. In our  July 18 alert we urged President Preval to ensure that the their case is heard during the current criminal court sessions, and we just found out that the trial is scheduled for Monday, August 14. Thank you to everyone who wrote about this case to President Preval last month, and to Minister of Justice Magloire for our June 20 alert.

Haiti Debt Relief Bill in the U.S.: we do not know how many more co-sponsors are on board, because Congress is out of session. But please take advantage of your Representatives presence in your district throughout August to urge her or him to co-sponsor the Haiti Debt Relief Bill, H.Res. 888. At the request of grassroots groups planning to attend community meetings with their Representatives, we have put together an information packet for the Congressperson and a one-page summary for other attendees. Let us know if you would like a copy.

Upcoming Events: The Solidarity Encounter with the Haitian People organized by the September 30 Foundation will take place in Haiti from August 20-26. This is an excellent opportunity for people who care about Haiti to connect with Haitian grassroots groups struggling for justice.

This week�s action: Please write to Haitian Minister of Justice Rene Magloire. Thank him for helping the December 5 case go to trial, and urge him to ensure that the trial is a fair one. There will be a lot of pressure on the Haitian government to keep the defendants in jail at any cost, so it is vital that the Minister hears that there is international support for respecting the rights of Annette Auguste and her co-defendants. A sample letter is below in English and French (translation courtesy of Jean-Francois Corbett), feel free to customize it. Letters must arrive by the end of the day on Thursday, August 10, so please 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 promptly.
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Me. Rene Magloire
Ministre de la Justice et de la Securite Publique
Ministere de la Justice
18 Avenue Charles Sumner
Port-au-Prince, Haiti

Dear Mr. Minister:
I am writing to express my appreciation that the case of the political prisoners held in connection with the December 5, 2003 incidents at the State University has been set for trial on August 14, and to urge you to make every effort to ensure that the trial is a fair one for all concerned, especially the defendants.
As you know, Annette Auguste (So Ann), Georges Honore and Yvon Antoine (Zap Zap) have been in jail for over two years in this case, and Paul Raymond has been jailed for over a year. Not a single witness has testified in court against any of the defendants, and two years of pre-trial investigation did not produce a single shred of direct evidence against them.

The August 14 trial is an opportunity to show that Haitis justice system can make a clean break from the last two years, where the system was used as an instrument of repression, not justice. Accordingly, I urge you to take every possible measure to ensure an exemplary trial. These steps should include instructing the Commissaire du Gouvernement to ensure fair treatment of the accused, providing adequate security and logistical support for the trial, and if necessary, taking appropriate action against any prosecutor or judge who abuses his position to violate the Constitutional and human rights of any of the defendants.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
_____________________
Me. Rene Magloire
Ministre de la Justice et de la Securite Publique
Ministere de la Justice
18 Avenue Charles Sumner
Port-au-Prince, Ha�ti Monsieur le Ministre,
Je d�sire par la pr�sente vous exprimer ma grande appr�ciation du fait que la date du proc�s des prisonniers politiques d�tenus en relation avec les incidents du 5 d�cembre 2003, ait enfin �t� fix�e, et ce, au 14 ao�t, c�est-�-dire ce lundi. Je vous exhorte � d�ployer tous vos efforts afin que ce proc�s soit juste pour toutes les parties concern�es, et particuli�rement les accus�s.
Comme vous le savez, Annette Auguste (S� Ann), Georges Honor� et Yvon Antoine (Zap Zap) sont en prison depuis plus de deux ans en rapport avec cette affaire, et Paul Raymond, depuis un an. Aucun t�moignage n�a �t� port� contre les accus�s, et deux ann�es d�enqu�te judicaire n�ont pu produire ne serait-ce que l�ombre d�une preuve contre eux.
Le proc�s du 14 ao�t offre une occasion de montrer que le syst�me judiciaire ha�tien peut rompre avec son histoire des deux derni�res ann�es, au cours desquelles ce syst�me a �t� utilis� en tant qu�instrument de r�pression, et non de justice. Certaines mesures s�imposent donc de votre part�:

��� signaler au Commissaire du Gouvernement qu�il doit garantir un traitement juste aux accus�s�;
��� assurer une s�curit� et un support logistique ad�quats lors du proc�s�;
��� et si n�cessaire, agir contre tout �ventuel procureur ou juge qui abuserait de son pouvoir pour violer les droits humains et constitutionnels d�un accus�.
Je vous remercie � l�avance de l�attention que vous portez � cette affaire.
Veuillez agr�er l�expression de mes sentiments les meilleurs, ainsi que mes v�ux de justice pour tous les Ha�tiens,

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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 HalfHour4Haiti@ijdh.org.

Contact IJDH

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

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