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9209: Haïti : Reporters sans frontières once again concerned by impunity in assassinated journalist Jean Dominique's case (fwd)

From: "[iso-8859-1] Régis BOURGEAT" <ameriques@rsf.fr>

<fontfamily><param>Geneva</param>Press freedom

5 October 2001


Reporters sans frontières once again concerned by impunity in
assassinated journalist Jean Dominique's case

</bold>In a letter to President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, RSF expressed
its profound concern about the continued non-execution of four arrest
warrants which were issued as part of the investigation into the
assassination of journalist Jean Dominique. The organisation asked the
president to do everything in his power to ensure that the targeted
individuals are arrested as soon as possible. "It is scandalous that
Paul Raymond and René Civil, two of the individuals who are supposedly
being sought by the police, were able to hold a news conference without
being disturbed," said RSF Secretary-General Robert Ménard. He also
expressed his concern that certain barriers encountered by the
investigation have originated from within the Criminal Investigation
Department itself. The arrest warrants were issued against four men who
are linked to the Fanmi Lavalas, the president's party. "The
government's passive approach to this case is increasingly beginning to
look like complicity. We ask that you respect the commitment you made
on 3 March to mobilise all the resources necessary to ensure the
investigation's success. Otherwise, how are we not to believe that the
assassins will enjoy total impunity?" asked Ménard.

Moreover, RSF protested the shooting of Jean Ronald Dupont, a Radio
Maxima FM journalist, and the assault on Jean-Marie Mayard, a Radio
Métropole correspondent. Mayard, who was assaulted by members of a
people's movement which is close to the Fanmi Lavalas, is the tenth
journalist to be threatened or assaulted by supporters of the governing
party since 1 January 2001. None of the attackers have been prosecuted
or otherwise punished.

<bold>Impunity surrounding the Dominique case

</bold>According to information collected by RSF, Criminal
Investigation Department officials have reportedly not issued an order
to execute the arrest warrants against Richard "Cha Cha" Salomon and
Franck Joseph, who have both been charged in the context of the
Dominique murder case. Dominique was the director of Radio Haïti Inter.
The Public Prosecutor's Office reportedly sent the arrest warrants to
the Criminal Investigation Department several months ago. Salomon is
considered to be Senator Dany Toussaint's "right hand man". Joseph is
one of the senator's bodyguards. Also charged in this case, Toussaint
is currently the object of a request for the lifting of his
parliamentary immunity. The Senate has yet to respond to the examining
judge's request.

Moreover, Raymond, spokesperson for the TKL organisation, and Civil,
spokesperson for Jeunesse pouvoir populaire (JPP), held a press
conference on 28 September, even though an arrest warrant was issued
against them as part of the investigation into Dominique's
assassination. The arrest warrant was issued by Claudy Gassant, the
examining judge in the case, after the officials from the two
organisations refused to respond to the repeated summonses he had sent
them in order to hear them as witnesses in the case.

On 3 April 2000, Dominique, the country's best-known Haitian journalist
and political analyst, was killed in Radio Haïti Inter's courtyard. He
was the station's director. In a 19 October 1999 editorial, the
journalist had sharply called into question Toussaint's ambitions.
Toussaint, who was elected to the Senate in May 2000, is a Fanmi
Lavalas member. In August 2001, Judge Gassant asked that his
parliamentary immunity be lifted, because of his assumed implication in
the journalist's killing.

<bold>Assaults and threats

</bold>Also according to information collected by RSF, Dupont, a Radio
Maxima FM journalist, received a head injury on 2 October while
covering a demonstration in Cap-Haïtien (a city in the country's
north). The journalist, who is in stable condition, was shot as police
officers were shooting just above protesters' heads in an effort to
disperse them.

Three days earlier, Mayard, a Radio Métropole correspondent in St Marc
(ninety-five kilometres north of Port-au-Prince), was assaulted by
members of the organisation "Bale wouze", which is also close to the
Fanmi Lavalas. His attackers insulted and threatened him and broke his
cassette recorder as he was returning from one of President Aristide's
meetings. One of his attackers reportedly told him, "If you continue to
broadcast information which is unfavourable to the Lavalas government
you are a dead man."

A total of ten journalists have been threatened or assaulted by Fanmi
Lavalas supporters since 1 January. None of the attackers have been
punished. During a 9 January press conference, Civil and Raymond
notably called for the killing of Liliane Pierre-Paul, from Radio
Kiskeya, Max Chauvet, director of the daily "Le Nouvelliste", and
several opposition figures. Though the prosecution did summon Raymond a
few days later, he was not penalised in any significant way.

<italic>Reporters Sans Frontières defends jailed journalists and press
freedom throughout the world, that is, the right to inform and be
informed, in accordance with Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of
Human Rights. Reporters Sans Frontières has nine sections (Austria,
Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland and
United Kingdom), representatives in Abidjan, Bangkok, Montréal, Tokyo
and Washington, and about a hundred correspondents worldwide.

Régis Bourgeat

Despacho Américas / Americas desk

Reporters sans frontières

5, rue Geoffroy-Marie

75009 Paris - France

tél. : +33 (0) 1 44 83 84 57

fax : +33 (0) 1 45 23 11 51

e-mail : ameriques@rsf.org

	/ americas@rsf.org