Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Haitian priest Gerard Jean-Juste cleared of ties to killing

By Georgia East

South Florida Sun-Sentinel

June 21, 2008

The Court of Appeals in Haiti cleared The Rev. Gerard Jean-Juste, a Catholic priest who championed the plight of Haitian refugees, of all remaining charges in connection with the 2005 murder of a prominent journalist and poet.

“I feel great. I’m praising God more and I’m serving his people,” said Jean-Juste on Friday from Haiti. “I was confident that I would be exonerated because I’ve been through so many trials before.”

Jean-Juste, 62, is an influential advocate for Haiti’s poor and a vocal supporter of former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who fled the country in 2004. The U.S.-backed interim government jailed Jean-Juste in 2005 in connection with the killing of Jacques Roche. A judge cleared Jean-Juste of homicide but indicted him on weapons possession and criminal conspiracy charges. Those remaining charges were dismissed last week, said Brian Concannon, one of the priest’s lawyers.

Jean-Juste had been out of prison since 2006, when he was permitted to leave the country for medical treatment. He divides his time between Miami and Haiti, where he is overseeing a food distribution program in Port-au-Prince.

Georgia East can be reached at geast@sun-sentinel.com or 954-356-4629.

Copyright � 2008, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

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