January 14, 2009
We have a flash announcement for people who can get to Boston: IJDH Board Member Paul Farmer of Partners in Health, actor Matt Damon, IJDH Director Brian Concannon Jr., and State Rep. Linda Dorcena Forry are participating in a panel discussion moderated by Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library on January 27. The panel will focus on improving U.S. Policy towards Haiti under the new leadership in Washington. Tickets are free, but limited, so order them now- click here to reserve a seat.
Ronald Dauphin, a Lavalas activist, was arrested by armed paramilitary troops on March 1, 2004 – the day after US officials forced President Aristide into exile. Mr. Dauphin has spent almost five years in jail without having been convicted of any crime. For three years his case has been stuck in legal limbo, with no progress or active investigation. Dauphin is the last detainee held for the so-called �La Scierie massacre.� No one has ever been convicted in connection with the La Scierie incident. Most defendants have had their charges ordered dismissed by courts. Human rights groups and the UN have concluded that the incident never happened as alleged in the courts.
In August 2006, Amnesty International called on Haiti�s government to promptly bring to trial or release all political prisoners, condemning the prolonged detention of Lavalas activists as politically motivated. In October 2006, the National Lawyers Guild urged the Haitian government to release the remaining political prisoners, with particular emphasis on the defendants held in the La Scierie case. In May 2008, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) ruled that the State of Haiti had violated the human rights of former Prime Minister Neptune, another defendant in the La Scierie case, by holding him without trial for over two years with no proof he committed a crime. Yet while Neptune was provisionally released, as was another defendant in the case, Amanus Maette, Dauphin remains in prison.
The IACHR has declared conditions in Haiti�s overcrowded prisons inhumane. Without adequate food, clean water, sanitation and medical attention, Mr. Dauphin�s detention amounts to a death sentence, particularly because he is in ill health.
For these reasons, we call for the immediate release of Ronald Dauphin. We urge you to drop all charges, provide immediate medical treatment, and offer reparations to Mr. Dauphin for his unjust and illegal detention.
For more information about the Half-Hour For Haiti program, the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) or human rights in Haiti, see our website, www.HaitiJustice.org. To receive Half-Hour for Haiti Action Alerts (about 2 per month), send an email to HalfHour4Haiti@ijdh.org.