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8408: Radio Haiti Journalist held at Gunpoint (fwd)

From: Jean Jean-Pierre <jean@acd-pc.com>

Port au Prince, 21 June 2001

Radio Haiti journalist Fritson Oreus was threatened by armed
individuals  Wednesday evening after leaving the station upon completion
of the evening
news broadcast.  He left the station in the car belonging to the radio
which is not marked as such), drove down Delmas, and stopped to make
purchases at the Delimart convenience store around Delmas 32.  As he was

leaving, a red Tracker Jeep, with plates I5142, tried to block him from
backing out.  After asking the driver of the jeep to move ahead so as to

allow him to back out, two armed individuals jumped out of the jeep and
pointed their arms at Fritson.  They smashed the driver's side window of

Fritson had the presence of mind and the skill to quickly maneuver his
vehicle so as to extricate his vehicle from the parking area, and he
began to  drive up Delmas.  The red Tracker jeep gave pursuit. Fritson
turned into an  Esso station at Delmas 37 and his assailants followed
He got out of the  car, and they demanded that he get back into the car,
which he refused to do.  They said that they recognized the vehicle he
was driving.  He said, "that's  possible."  They said it was Jean
Dominique's car, for
Radio Haiti.

They kept Fritson at gunpoint for 15 minutes or so, demanding that he
down a series of information on paper (including his name, his national
number, his press badge number, etc. etc.), all the while demanding that
group of on-lookers which had gathered in the Esso parking lot disperse.

They claimed they were police officers.  They eventually left the

*   *   *

Friends:  Things are moving quickly here, and unfortunately those of us
the ground are not quite ready with all the information we need to
calls to urgent action in the way of telephone, fax, and internet
that could be applied to local authorities.  In the meantime, here are a

Justice Minister Garry Lissade
Tel:  (509) 558-6212; (509) 556-6214
Fax at the Ministry:  (509) 245-0474

We can demand that this be investigated immediately,
that the car be sought,
that the liscence plates be tracked, and that security
be provided for
journalists leaving the station late in the evening.
This in addition to his
providing, of course, security and all means necessary
for Public Prosecutor
Josue Pierre-Louis to provide his "requisitoire
definitif" and for
Investigating Judge Claudy Gassant to then issue the

General Director of the Haitian National Police Jean
Nesly Lucien
Tel:  (509) 245-9757; (509) 245-2191
Fax used to be:  (509) 245-7374
We can demand that this be investigated immediately,
that the car be sought,
that the liscence plates be tracked, and that security
be provided for
journalists leaving the station late in the evening.

President Jean Bertrand Aristide
(can you believe that I don't have this information?
anyone want to send it
to me?)

I will attempt to collect additional telephone and fax
numbers and e-mails.
For those of us concerned about the situtation
regarding this case, for those
of us who are against impunity and in favor of justice
not just for Jean
Dominique and Jean Claude Louissaint, but for all
people, taking action is

It bears noting that in a visit paid yesterday to the
police to encourage
them for their crackdown on crime, President Aristide
openly sanctioned
extrajudicial (summary) executions!!!!!  He spoke of
"zero tolerance" for
street criminals (zenglendo) and said that if the
police were to catch one in
the act of, for example, stealing a car, it would be
appropriate for them to
beat and to kill the criminal.  At the same time, he
will be receiving today
at the Palace members of two armed gangs whose recent
conflicts caused the
deaths of many (I forget the number), destroyed the
homes of even more, and
forced families to flee their neighborhoods. He has
congratulated them for
negotiating a truce.

We all wish for peace and security.  But let us be
clear about the means for
achieving them.  Taking steps to put an end to impunity
at all levels and in
all its forms would be an important first step, not
giving the police free
reign to execute individuals in the streets (which IS
happening already, by
the way).  Civil and human rights advocates and others
in solidarity with the
Haitian people have a role to play in speaking to these
issues.  Let us not
just look the other way.

Laurie Richardson
for the Fondasyon Eko Vwa Jean Dominique