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5532: Joanis Jackson arrest by INS/convicted of killing Antoine Izmery (fwd)

From: MKarshan@aol.com

Florida Sun-Sentinel, Web-posted: 11:33 p.m. Nov. 16, 2000

INS arrests 14 immigrants for alleged human rights abuses 
in their countries 

</bold>By JODY A. BENJAMIN Sun-Sentinel       

   Stepping up efforts to root out human rights abusers, 
immigration authorities on Thursday fanned out across South 
Florida and arrested 14 foreign nationals accused of kidnapping, 
torturing or murdering political enemies in their home countries. 

    The two-day sweep in an operation called "Home Run" 
targeted 25 former military or paramilitary officers who had 
applied to the Immigration and Naturalization Service for asylum. 
But subsequent immigration court hearings turned up evidence 
they had engaged in torture, disqualifying them. In some cases, 
they had lived in communities from Miami-Dade to Palm Beach 
counties for years. 

   "These are people who were living here within their own ethnic 
community, where they may have encountered some of their 
victims," said Bill West, INS chief of special investigations. "That 
constitutes a potential threat to those victims." 

   "We are aggressively targeting this population," said West. "We 
intend to detain them until they can be removed from the country." 
Eleven of the targeted group, most of whom come from Latin 
America and the Caribbean, are still at large.

   The arrests come as U.S.-based human rights groups are 
increasing pressure on the government to arrest and prosecute 
some of the estimated 7,000 former torturers thought to have 
quietly taken up residence in this country.

   "We are delighted to see that they have begun to take action, 
but it is just a first step," said Richard Krieger, founder of the 
Boynton Beach-based International Education Missions, a group 
that collects information on torturers. 

   "We have an obligation to try foreign torturers living here and to 
incarcerate them if they are found guilty," he said. 

   A West Palm Beach jury recently acquitted two former 
Salvadoran generals of responsibility for the deaths of four 
American church women. But others should be prosecuted here 
under the law used in that case, the International Convention 
Against Torture, Krieger said. 

   "This is big stuff," said Haitian radio host Andre Edner Joseph, 
known on WLQY-1320 AM as "Yeye." He said South Florida 
listeners have complained about torturers living with impunity in 
the United States. 

   "We have been talking about people like that walking the streets 
of Miami and New York like nothing happened," Joseph said. "We 
have been asking when are they going to go after these people?"

   Those arrested Thursday won't be prosecuted in this country, 
because their alleged crimes took place before the United States 
ratified the anti-torture convention in 1994, said INS district 
counsel Dan Vara. Instead, INS will seek to deport them. 

   "What remains for us to do is to simply arrange for their 
physical removal from the country," said Vara. For now they are 
being held at the Krome Detention Center in southwest Miami-

    Arrested were Simao Sebastiao, 31, of Miami; Rafael Alberto 
Romero, 54, of Miami; Gilnor Castor, 40, of Lake Park; Buteau 
Avril, 49, of Delray Beach; Jean Bruno Joseph, 41, of 
Homestead; Windzor Edouard, 41, of Lake Worth; Guerlaine 
Fleurvil Georges, 30, of Delray Beach; Augustin Pierre, 44, of 
Miami; Michelet Charles, 31, of Miami; Erick Cazeau, 24, of Fort 
Pierce; Maxo Provence, 30, of Boca Raton; Fanfan Baptiste, 26, 
of Fort Lauderdale; Yolandus Yolande, 49; and Joanis Jackson, 42.

   According to press reports, Jackson is a former member of the 
Front for the Advancement and Progress of Haiti who in 1995 
was convicted in absentia for the killing of Antoine Izmery, a 
businessman and active supporter of then-President Jean 
Bertrand Aristide. A Haitian court sentenced Jackson to life in 

   In Miami-Dade, one of those arrested was an Angolan who had 
served in the Angolan military before switching allegiances to join 
the UNITA rebel group. The man admitted to killing civilians in 
both capacities, said West of INS. 

   In Broward and Palm Beach counties, West said, INS arrested 
former members of the infamous TonTon Macoutes in Haiti, a 
militia that supported the 29-year Duvalier family dictatorship and 
has been accused of killing thousands of civilians. "Baby Doc" 
Duvalier was toppled during a popular uprising in 1986.

    INS is continuing efforts to locate other torturers. Agents think 
most of the remaining 11 sought in this week's action have already 
fled the area, West said. 

   Among those who fled: a former military commander from 
Honduras who testified that he took part in the slayings of 300 
people during regional conflicts. INS declined to release the 
commander's name.

   "We believe several of them have actually left the area and 
gone to other parts of the country," said West. "We're not going to 
forget about them. We're going to continue to look for them."

<italic>   Sun-Sentinel Researcher Barbara Hijek contributed to this 

   Jody A. Benjamin can be reached at jbenjamin@sun-
sentinel.com or 954-356-4530.