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#5076: Haitian Police Jailed for Slum Killing (fwd)

From: nozier@tradewind.net

Tuesday September 12 12:27 AM ET
  Haitian Police Jailed for Slum Killing 

 PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (Reuters) - A Haitian judge on Monday
 convicted the Port-au-Prince police commissioner and three other former
 policemen of manslaughter in the killing of 11 people in the capital
last year and jailed them for three years each.  The former officers
were also fined 26,000 gourdes ($1,180) over the killing in the slum of
Carrefour-Feuilles on May 28, 1999.``The law is tough, but it's the
law,'' said Judge Lize Pierre-Pierre. ``I wish you the courage for the
remaining time you have in prison.''  The four ex-police officers have
already been in prison since July 1999. Two other police officers were
acquitted after a three-week trial that  marked the first time Haitians
can remember that a government in power  has brought to trial officials
accused of human rights violations.  After decades of dictatorship and
repression, Haiti has been struggling over the past five years to build
a democracy. In the Carrefour-Feuilles case, the police officers were
accused of killing the 11 victims after taking them into custody.
 Authorities originally said they were gang members who opened fire on
police and died in a shootout. Relatives and witnesses insisted the dead
 had no gang ties and were gunned down in cold blood.Ten of the victims
were shot in the head and one in the heart, a joint U.N.-Organization of
American States human rights mission reported.Commissioner Jean Coles
Rameau, who had been accused of being the architect of the crime, fled
to the neighboring Dominican Republic after the shooting but was
arrested and brought back to trial. On Monday night Minister of Justice
Camille Leblanc called for residents of Carrefour-Feuilles to respect
the verdict. Members of the public have packed the court room every day
during the