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9551: Judge quitting Haiti murder case in fear (fwd)

From: leonie hermantin <lhermantin@hotmail.com>

Published Monday, November 12, 2001

Judge quitting Haiti murder case in fear
PORT-AU-PRINCE -- (AP) -- Concerned for his safety, a judge investigating 
the slaying of a prominent Haitian broadcast journalist said Sunday he 
intended to abandon the case, two days after watching a mob kill a prisoner 
wanted in connection with the inquiry.
``They're going to have to find another judge,'' said investigating judge 
Claudy Gassant. His term is up Jan. 4 and Gassant said he will not accept 
reappointment, and may resign before that.

Gassant's statements signal that after 14 months investigating, he will 
probably not issue any indictments for the killing of journalist Jean 

In April 2000, gunmen shot Dominique, 69, seven times, minutes before he was 
to give his morning newscast at his Radio Haiti Inter. A guard was also 

Dominique was politically influential.

He helped set up a national peasants' union that many saw as a power base 
and was considering running for president in Nov. 2000 elections won by 
President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

Although more than 80 people have been questioned, investigations into 
Dominique's killing have been hampered by the political influence of some of 
those sought for questioning.

Judges' fears that they could become targets also have been an obstacle.

Gassant's predecessor, Jean-Senat Fleury, withdrew for security reasons late 
last year after five months on the job.

Gassant had himself threatened to quit in June.

On Friday morning, Gassant traveled to a police outpost near coastal 
Leogane, about 20 miles west of Port-au-Prince, to see an inmate believed to 
have key information about Dominique's death.

After arriving, Gassant watched as a mob dragged the prisoner, Panel 
Renelus, out of the police post and killed him, using machetes, stones and 
their fists.

Renelus was suspected of a murder and rapes and robberies in the area, 
police said.

On Sunday, Gassant complained that officers did not offer adequate 
protection to Renelus.

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