Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

A Test for Haiti’s Prisons as Trial Opens in 2010 Killing of Inmates (Free Speech Radio News)

Year: 2011 Length: 6:06 minutes (5.58 MB) Format: MP3 Mono 44kHz 128Kbps (CBR) Today, in Haiti a trial opened for police and prison officials charged in connection to the killing of prisoners in Les Cayes in the days following the 2010 earthquake. On January 19, one week after the massive earthquake, at least a dozen inmates were killed in what officials at the time called a prison break. But eyewitnesses described police firing on unarmed inmates and an independent commission found “grave violations of human rights” in the incident. The case brings into focus police accountability, prison conditions and ongoing abuses of the judicial system in Haiti. For more, we’re joined by Brian Concannon, director at the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti. And in other news from Haiti, a report from the Center for Economic and Policy Research […]

Report Assails Haiti Officers in Prison Killings (The New York Times)

By Deborah Sontag and Walt Bogdanich, The New York Times After officers had quelled the prison uprising in Les Cayes, Haiti, in January, Jacklin Charles, an unarmed detainee, was killed by a bullet to the head as he stood beside a tree in the courtyard. Several witnesses said that the chief of the antiriot police pulled the trigger. Another detainee, Verlin Potty, was handcuffed and dragged into the dispensary, where officers beat him to death with their batons. The warden is said to have participated in the killing. These two men were among at least 12 detainees killed by Haitian officers who opened fire “deliberately and without justification,” using “inappropriate, abusive and disproportionate force” against unarmed inmates who presented no immediate threat, according to an independent commission of inquiry report on the Jan. 19 uprising. Most of the dead were summarily […]

Report Assails Haiti Officers in Prison Killings

By Deborah Sontag and Walter Bogdanich, New York Times After officers had quelled the prison uprising in Les Cayes, Haiti, in January, Jacklin Charles, an unarmed detainee, was killed by a bullet to the head as he stood beside a tree in the courtyard. Several witnesses said that the chief of the antiriot police pulled the trigger. Another detainee, Verlin Potty, was handcuffed and dragged into the dispensary, where officers beat him to death with their batons. The warden is said to have participated in the killing. These two men were among at least 12 detainees killed by Haitian officers who opened fire “deliberately and without justification,” using “inappropriate, abusive and disproportionate force” against unarmed inmates who presented no immediate threat, according to an independent commission of inquiry report on the Jan. 19 uprising. Most of the dead were summarily […]

Haiti Investigates Prison Shootings (New York Times)

New York Times An independent commission of inquiry into the Jan. 19 killings of a dozen or more inmates at a prison in Les Cayes, Haiti, was formally established by presidential decree this week, officials said Tuesday. The commission was proposed in May after The New York Times published an investigation into the shooting deaths of detainees in connection with an escape attempt at the prison. The Times’s investigation indicated that the Haitian police fatally shot unarmed inmates after storming the prison at the end of an uprising. The panel’s six commissioners include three foreign experts, led by Gen. Salvatore Carrara of Italy, and three Haitians, among them the country’s ombudsman, Florence Elie. Ms. Elie is well known for overseeing the pretrial work in an important human rights case involving a peasant massacre in Raboteau in 1994. The commissioners and three technical […]

Group says children suffer in Haiti jails

The Jamaica Observer PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – A human rights group here says that more than 50 children are currently subjected to harsh treatment in jails in the earthquake-ravaged, French-speaking Caribbean country. “These minors are receiving no special treatment whatsoever and routinely face prolonged preventive detention, overcrowding, poor conditions and no rehabilitation strategy,” said the Haitian National Human Rights Defence Network in a statement, disclosing that at least 58 children have suffered this fate. The network said that since the January 12 devastating earthquake 43 boys and 15 girls have been transferred to two prisons built for adults. “There are 15 girls jammed into one little cell in which there are supposed to be a maximum of four people,” it said. This comes in the wake of a report by a United Nations human rights expert, which describes conditions at two […]

U.S. Moves to Block Some Funding for Haiti

By DIONNE SEARCEY, Wall Street Journal A plan before a congressional panel that is intended to prod the Haitian government to clean up its justice system could end up blocking funds for some U.S.-backed judicial-reform programs in the earthquake-ravaged nation. The proposed Senate Appropriations Committee measure takes aim at alleged killings at the overcrowded prison in Les Cayes, Haiti, in the wake of the deadly Jan. 12 quake. The Haitian government said it is investigating a jail riot in the days after the quake in which some prisoners died, but it hasn’t elaborated on the circumstances. The United Nations has launched an investigation into the alleged shootings by guards of dozens of prisoners during the escape attempt. The Appropriations proposal, put forth by Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, says that in light of the incident at Les Cayes “no funds […]

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