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9551: Judge quitting Haiti murder case in fear (fwd)
From: leonie hermantin <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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
Renelus was suspected of a murder and rapes and robberies in the area,
On Sunday, Gassant complained that officers did not offer adequate
protection to Renelus.
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