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#1116: Brother of Haiti Strongman Released (fwd)


Brother of Haiti Strongman Released

.c The Associated Press

 PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) - After more than three years in prison without 
trial, the brother of former army coup strongman Michel Francois has been 
released along with 21 other prisoners, a news report said Friday.

Evans Francois was arrested in April 1996 on subversion charges. His brother, 
Michel, had been police chief of Port-au-Prince during the 1991-94 
military-backed regime that ended when U.S. troops intervened in Haiti to 
restore its democratically elected government.

Evans Francois was released Tuesday with 21 other prisoners held in the 
capital's national penitentiary for long periods without trial, private Radio 
Quisqueya reported.

In 1995, Michel Francois was sentenced in absentia to life imprisonment. He 
was later expelled from the neighboring Dominican Republic and deported to 

Left-wing militant Patrick Moise, who was arrested on subversion charges in 
May 1996, also was among those released.

The prisoners, who had been on a hunger strike, were released for 
humanitarian reasons, said government prosecutor Florence Mathieu.

``They were in critical condition,'' she said.

Francois was unable to speak or recognize people, she said. Some of the 
prisoners were feverish and had tuberculosis. ``It was a veritable 
hospital,'' she said.

Some of the prisoners had been held even though release orders had been 

Last month, eight soldiers who had been arrested on subversion charges in 
1996 also were released after going on a hunger strike.

More than 1,500 prisoners are incarcerated in the crowded downtown 
penitentiary. Fewer than 500 have been tried.

AP-NY-11-26-99 2302EDT

 Copyright 1999 The Associated Press.  The information  contained in the AP 
news report may not be published,  broadcast, rewritten or otherwise 
distributed without  prior written authority of The Associated Press.