Sunday, July 24, 2005

Update from Bill Quiqley

I received the following update yesterday, but have been without power since last night. Below is an update on the beating and arbitrary arrest of a Haitian priest who has been active in the fight for democracy in Haiti.
By Bill Quigley, professor of law at Loyola University
New Orleans School of Law.

A half an hour ago,over a dozen masked policeofficers with machine guns, forced a handcuffedFr.Jean-Juste into a police van and sped away.

As he was being put into the police wagon heyelled to the officers and the onlookers "Where is thejustice in Haiti? I am a priest. Why do you treatpeople like this? Vive Aristide!"

No one yet knows where Fr. jean-Juste has beentaken. No written charges have been made against him.

This afternoon Fr. jean-Juste was still in Petitionville jail, where he shared a single toilet with over 40 prisoners. There were no beds and norunning water.

He had a quick hearing with a justice of thepeace, who refused to wait until Mario Joseph, his Haitian lawyer could be present. No written chargeswere shared - again questions were like, what party doyou belong to? can you explain your presence at thefuneral of Jacques Roche? Do you know why the banditskilled him? Do you visit the poor neighborhood ofBel-Air frequently?

At the conclusion of the meeting with the justiceof the peace, we took a harrowing ride with policemachine guns downtown to the prosecutor's office whereno questions were asked and no conversation was held.Papers were signed and Fr. Jean-Juste was placed inhandcuffs and taken away.

Mario Joseph, of the Institute of Justice and Democracy in Haiti, and I will continue to try to findout where Fr. Jean-Juste is over the weekend and will report what we know. The only thing we know for certain is the answer to Fr. Jean-Juste's cry to the soldiers, "Where isjustice in Haiti?" If there is to be justice in Haiti, it rests with those who are willing to struggle

Freedom is coming, but only if we keep up the pressure.

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