Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Supporters Petition to End Political Harassment Against Aristide

In recent months, old charges of corruption have been brought against former President Aristide again. Charges of this nature are usually dropped before Aristide can challenge them in court. Now, Aristide supporters all over the world have come together against the latest political harassment campaign.

Part of the petition is below. Click HERE for the full text and list of signers.

As former Haitian President Aristide is placed on house arrest, supporters worldwide demand immediate halt to attacks on him and Lavalas Movement

By the Haiti Action Committee, in The San Francisco Bay View
September 13, 2014

On Aug. 21, Haitian police wearing black masks and carrying heavy arms appeared in front of the home of former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide as a Haitian judge issued calls to arrest him. Hundreds of people courageously surrounded the house to protect him.

The vast majority of Haitians are well aware that support of President Aristide and Lavalas is in their best interest. – Photo: Reuters

One week before, President Aristide was summoned to court on false corruption charges. On Sept. 10, he was placed on house arrest and barred from leaving the country.

This is the fourth time since his return to Haiti in 2011 that he has been the target of a politically motivated legal case. Previous charges were dropped before he could even challenge them in court.

The judge in this case, Lamarre Bélizaire, has been suspended for 10 years from practicing the law by the Port-au-Prince Bar Association for using the court to persecute opponents of the present regime. His suspension is due to begin once he steps down as judge.

President Aristide, a former priest, was Haiti’s first democratically elected president. He is loved and trusted by the majority of Haitians. While in office he built schools and hospitals, encouraged agriculture and doubled the minimum wage.

He was removed and forced into exile with his family in 2004 by a U.S.-backed military coup. Thousands of members of his Lavalas movement were killed, raped or falsely imprisoned in the aftermath of the coup.

In 2011, after seven years of grassroots organizing in Haiti backed up by an international campaign, President Aristide and his family returned home. Tens of thousands of people welcomed him.

President Aristide, a former priest, was Haiti’s first democratically elected president. He is loved and trusted by the majority of Haitians. While in office he built schools and hospitals, encouraged agriculture and doubled the minimum wage.

He promised to work for education and the inclusion of all Haitians in the democratic process. He has done just that – reopening the Aristide Foundation’s university, UNIFA, where today over 900 students from all sectors of society, including those who cannot afford higher education, are training to become doctors, nurses and lawyers.

Legislative elections due to take place in Haiti in October are triggering a new chilling wave of repression aimed at President Aristide and his supporters. Lavalas has overwhelmingly won every election in which it has participated, but since the 2004 coup the party has been barred from elections.

 

Click HERE for the full petition and list of signers.

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