Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Former Haitian Mayor Hiding in Massachusetts Sued for Human Rights Violations

Jean Morose Viliena fled Haiti when he was indicted on murder, battery and property destruction charges by Haitian courts in 2009. Since then, he has apparently been working as a licensed school bus driver and an Uber driver in Massachusetts, despite his history of silencing political dissidents in the town he oversaw. Instead of being prosecuted for his crimes, the Martelly government appointed Viliena mayor of Les Irois in 2012. Now that there is a case against Viliena in the U.S., this will be a test for Haiti’s new government to see whether it will allow human rights abusers to continue getting away with their crimes.

Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text.

Boston bus driver and former mayor in Haiti sued for human rights abuses in U.S. court

Jacqueline Charles, Miami Herald

March 23, 2017

A boy stands on top of the hillside of town of Jeremie, Haiti, which is located in the same Grand’ Anse region as the town of Les Irois. The town’s former mayor, Jean Morose Viliena, who now lives in the Boston-area, is being sued in U.S. federal court for human rights abuses.

A Boston school bus and Uber driver who was appointed mayor of a small Haitian village in 2012 by former Haitian President Michel Martelly despite a murder indictment in the Haitian courts is being sued in U.S. federal court for human rights abuses.

A civil lawsuit, filed Thursday in the U.S. District Court in Massachusetts, accuses Jean Morose Viliena, the former mayor of Les Irois in Haiti’s Grand’Anse region, of torture, extrajudicial killing, attempted extrajudicial killing and arson. The suit was filed by the San Francisco-based Center for Justice & Accountability and the multinational Dentons law firm. Lawyers are seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages against Viliena on behalf of three victims.

“The problem in Haiti … is if you have political connections, you can literally get away with murder,” said Scott Gilmore, a human rights attorney with the Center for Justice & Accountability. “You can be handpicked to return to office.”

Click HERE for the full text.

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