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#4728: Politician subpoenaed in Haiti journalist's death (fwd)


Politician subpoenaed in Haiti journalist's  death

 July 27, 2000  Web posted at: 8:38 PM EDT (0038 GMT)

  PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (Reuters) -- A Haitian senator-elect was
subpoenaed   for questioning on Thursday in the investigation into the
killing of a prominent  radio journalist.  Sen.-elect Dany Toussaint was
among nearly a dozen people subpoenaed by a judge probing the death of
broadcaster Jean Dominique, 69, fatally shot from  ambush in April. 
 Toussaint has not been charged in connection with Dominique's death,
and there was no indication why he was subpoenaed. The journalist had
sharply criticized Toussaint in a broadcast shortly before he was
killed.  Toussaint denied any involvement in the crime on Thursday and
promised to  work to solve it after he is inaugurated into Parliament.
No date has been set for his swearing in.  "I'm going to work to bring
justice for Jean Dominique," Toussaint said. He also denied U.S.
government allegations that had links to Haiti's booming drug        
trade, saying, "The only drug I take is the Haitian people."            
Toussaint was one of two senators from the ruling Lavalas Family party
elected  from the West Department, which includes the capital,
Port-au-Prince, in  parliamentary elections on May 21. International
observers and opposition party members have criticized the elections for
alleged irregularities. Dominique, a longtime democracy activist and
adviser to President Rene Preval, was shot and killed by unknown
assailants as he arrived for his morning newscast at Radio Haiti Inter
on April 3. A security guard was also killed. Dominique's critical
political commentaries had earned him enemies across the political
spectrum, and his murder sent Haitians into shock and raised fears of 
spiraling violence before the parliamentary vote.  Dominique's wife and
radio co-host, Michele Montas, has said the motive for her husband's
death was not clear and those behind it unknown. Toussaint, a former
army major who headed Haiti's police force in 1995, is a  close friend
of former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and joined him in exile in  
the United States after Aristide was ousted in a 1991 military coup.
Aristide, Haiti's first freely elected president, was restored by a
U.S.-led invasion force in 1994. Haiti's government has been paralyzed
for much of the last three years after elections held in April 1997 were
declared fraudulent. Preval dissolved Parliament in early 1999 and has
ruled by decree since.