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28901: Potemaksonje (news) Half-Hour for Haiti: Annette Auguste Released! (fwd)

from potemaksonje@yahoo.com

August 15, 2006
Half-Hour for Haiti: Annette Auguste Released!

Update: It worked!  Annette Auguste, who has spent the
last 826 nights sleeping in a prison cell, will spend
tonight home with her family.  So will Georges Honoré
(813 nights) Yvon Antoine (Zap Zap) (812 nights) and
Paul Raymond (388 nights). Their lawyer Mario Joseph
of the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux just called
with the news from the prison. The day in court was
straightforward, because for once it was honest: the
prosecutors conceded that there was no evidence
against Ms. Auguste (as they had conceded in March),
and the judge accordingly made a finding of not

Above all, Annette Auguste and her co-defendants
deserve our thanks and praise for insisting on justice
through the dark days of Haiti ?s brutal Interim
Government, and the frustratingly slow transition to
democracy.  The ir perseverance through such injustice
and suffering is a model to us all, and an inspiration
for creating a stable democracy in Haiti so that
political dissidents never again need to worry about
becoming political prisoners.

But those 826 nights- 90 of them under an elected
President- demonstrate that being persistent and being
right is not enough to guarantee justice. We are only
celebrating tonight because top-notch legal
representation in Haitian courts was combined with a
persistent campaign, in Haiti and abroad, to pressure
the justice system to finally give the defendants
their day in court. Ms. Auguste?s supporters fought
for justice on the streets, courageously organizing
demonstrations despite the great risk. Mario Joseph
and his BAI colleagues were equally courageous and
persistent fighting in the courts. Supporters of
justice in Haiti abroad, including Rep. Maxine Waters,
and Amnesty International which twice issued calls for
Annette Auguste?s release, kept the cases on the
world?s radar screen. Finally, all of us who wrote,
faxed and called on behalf of the political prisoners
demonstrated that there was a constituency for justice
in Haiti that would not give up.

We also would not be celebrating if Haiti ?s new
Constitutional government and some members of the
justice system had not pushed the system to work
democratically. Today?s result was too slow, and there
is too much more to be done. Some prominent political
prisoners like Ameus Mayette remain in jail, Yvon
Neptune and Fr. Jean-Juste are out of prison, but
still have cases against them. No one knows how many
lower-profile political prisoners remain in jail, but
they probably number in the hundreds. But we now know
that the system can work, and that we can help make it

No action to take this week.  But we?ll have an action
next week. Before he hung up today, Mario asked me to
make sure that we thank everyone who pitched in from
abroad to make this victory possible. The n he ended
with ?and don?t forget the other prisoners?.?

For more information about the Half-Hour for Haiti
Program, the Institute for Justice & Democracy in
Haiti , or human rights in Haiti , see www.ijdh.org.
To receive Half-Hour for Haiti Action Alerts once per
week, send an email to HalfHour4Haiti@ijdh.org

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