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#3926: U.S. Condemns Haiti Intim (fwd)




From:nozier@tradewind.net

U.S. Condemns Haiti Intimidation 
By Michael Norton Associated Press Writer
 Saturday, May 27, 2000; 3:17 p.m. EDT

 PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti  The United States on Saturday condemned the
climate of intimidation that followed Haiti's elections,saying reported
arrests of prominent opposition leaders were especially troubling.     
"We condemn the violence and call upon the Government of Haiti to      
use restraint and to take immediate measures to rectify these
incidents," the embassy said in a statement. Opposition parties say at
least 34 of their members have been arrested since chaotic balloting for
local and legislative posts May 21.Fifteen are members of the Struggling
People's Organization and 19 are from the five-party Space for Concord
coalition. Seven of those arrested were candidates. They included Sen.
Paul  Denis, a former parliamentary majority spokesman accused of
illegal  possession of arms; and Jean Limongy, a Space for Concord     
lower-house candidate accused of incitement to violence. Mary Durran,
information officer of Organization of American States  election
observation mission, said the group regarded Denis' arrest as         
illegal. He was released Friday, four days after his arrest. Limongy   
remains in custody. On Tuesday, the day of Limongy's arrest, police
broke into his radio and television stations in Petit-Goave, about 37
miles west of the capital of Port-au-Prince, and smashed equipment, said
Space for Concord spokesman Evans Paul. Police spokesman Jean-Dady
Simeon he did not know of any such incident.  In the days before
balloting, a hit list of journalists reportedly circulated in west coast
Gonaives, local media reported. About 20 Struggling People's
Organization candidates have gone into hiding, fearing violence at the
hands of partisans of former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, party
spokesmen said.  Aristide, the mentor of current President Rene Preval,
is favored to  win Haiti's presidential election at the end of the year.
Althoughofficial results have not yet been published, Aristide party
spokesmen  have already declared victory in the regional races.      
"After the brutally fraudulent elections, the government quite simply 
wants to silence the opposition," Paul said. Premier Jacques-Edouard
Alexis dismissed the accusation. "The opposition can say what it wants,
but we can't speak of a wave  of repression," he said.  While Haiti
awaits election results, the government must ensure "that sore losers do
not create problems," he said, adding that militant Aristide supporters
also were arrested in two provincial towns. More than 2 million Haitian
voters, an estimated 60 percent of the electorate, cast their ballots
for thousands of local and legislative offices in violence-free
elections marred by numerous irregularities. The opposition has
unanimously condemned the elections. Most have said they will boycott
second-round balloting for legislative offices scheduled for June 25.   
Most opposition parties accuse Preval and Aristide of planning a
one-party, totalitarian state. Aristide spokesmen have denied          
implication in all violence. Aristide has called his adversaries "hard
losers." At least 15 people were slain in politically related killings
in the two months leading up to the balloting.