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8408: Fw: Radio Haiti journalist aggressed yesterday evening -- get ready to act! (fwd)

From: Max Blanchet <maxblanchet@worldnet.att.net>

| Port au Prince, 21 June 2001
| Friends:
| Radio Haiti journalist Fritson Oreus was threatened by armed individuals
| yesterday 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 some
| 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
| car.
| 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
| drive up Delmas.  The red Tracker jeep gave pursuit.  Fritson turned into
| 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
| They said that they recognized the vehicle he was driving.  He said,
| 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 ID
| 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 on
| the ground are not quite ready with all the information we need to launch
| calls to urgent action in the way of telephone, fax, and internet pressure
| 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
| Port au Prince, 21 June 2001
| We can demand that this be investigated immediately, that the car be
| that the liscence plates be tracked, and that security be provided for
| journalists leaving the station late in the evening.  This in addition to
| providing, of course, security and all means necessary for Public
| Josue Pierre-Louis to provide his "requisitoire definitif" and for
| Investigating Judge Claudy Gassant to then issue the ordonance.
| 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
| 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
| to me?)
| I will attempt to collect additional telephone and fax numbers and
| For those of us concerned about the situtation regarding this case, for
| 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
| imperative.
| 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
| the act of, for example, stealing a car, it would be appropriate for them
| beat and to kill the criminal.  At the same time, he will be receiving
| 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,
| 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
| achieving them.  Taking steps to put an end to impunity at all levels and
| 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,
| the way).  Civil and human rights advocates and others in solidarity with
| Haitian people have a role to play in speaking to these issues.  Let us
| just look the other way.
| Laurie Richardson
| for the Fondasyon Eko Vwa Jean Dominique