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21823: Esser: Arrest of the Lavalas activist Annette Auguste (fwd)

From: D. Esser torx@joimail.com

Agence HaÔtienne de Presse AHP

May 10, 2004

Arrest of the Lavalas activist Annette Auguste (SÚ Anne)

Port-au-Prince, May 10, 2004 -(AHP)- The well-known activist Annette
Auguste, known as SÚ Anne, and 11 members of her family were arrested
Sunday evening toward midnight at their home in Delmas.

Rounds of heavy weapons were fired, creating panic throughout the

The son of Madame Auguste, Ralph Samedi, who was released a short
time later along with 10 members of the family, said that the arrests
were carried out by U.S. Marines with a great deal of noise.

The U.S. military caused, he said, substantial damage when they broke
down doors through the use of sophisticated weapons, smashed the
windshields of vehicles and launched grenades. They handcuffed all
the occupants of the home including a child aged five, he said.

A dog was reportedly also torn to pieces during the operation.

Ralph Samedi said he sees this arrest as being linked to a campaign
designed to intimidate Aristide supporters and to dissuade them from
organizing a nationwide demonstration against violence on May 18.

Multinational Interim Force spokesperson Col. David Lapan said for
his part that SÚ Anne had been arrested because she made negative
†comments against the foreign soldiers and the national police. †

"If my mother made threats against the multinational force, the
accusers would have to say on which radio stations, which television
channels she made the statements", said Mr. Samedi.

But the NCHR stated that her arrest was in fact connected to her
possible involvement in the violent incidents of December 5 2003 at
the Faculty of Social Sciences.

Colonel David Lapan acknowledged that no weapons were fired from the
home of †SÚ Anne and that no illegal weapons were found there. He
contended that the Marines used substantial force during their
operation in order to persuade the occupants of the home that the
Marines were capable of defending themselves.

Annette Auguste had recently undergone surgery and her physician had
recommended that she stay at home, her son stated.

For his part, Justice of the Peace Marcenau Salomon, who prepared the
official report of the military operation affirmed that he had
documented substantial property damage. †

However, Judge Salomon declared that the type of weapons used in this
occupation of the area could only be identified by an expert.

Fanmi Lavalas spokesperson Gilvert Angervil denounced the arrest of
SÚ Anne as an illegal act.

What the de facto authorities are trying to do, he said, is to lock
up all the leaders and members of †Fanmi Lavalas, and persecute,
harass and drive into hiding all the supporters of the Party
throughout the country.

"That is what kind of democracy they wanted when they asked the
foreigner to make President Aristide leave", exclaimed Gilvert
Angervil. He asked human rights organizations to issue a denunciation
and to demand that this escalation be stopped.

The Fanmi Lavalas spokesperson also called on the population to ask
in a peaceful manner that the persecution and violence come to an end.