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9718: World press group criticizes Haitian government (fwd)

From: Greg Chamberlain <GregChamberlain@compuserve.com>

    PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Nov 23 (Reuters) - An international press
freedom group sharply criticized the Haitian government on Friday, accusing
it of impeding an investigation into the ambush killing of a prominent
     Secretary-General Robert Menard of Paris-based Reporters Without
Borders said the group would ask world financial institutions to cut off
foreign aid to Haiti unless progress was made in the investigation by May
3, 2002, World Press Freedom Day.
     Haiti's most prominent news broadcaster, Jean Leopold Dominique, 69,
was gunned down by unknown attackers on April 3, 2000, as he entered the
courtyard of the private radio station he owned. A security guard was also
shot and killed.
     Dominique was a longtime democracy activist and had received death
threats before he was killed.
     Although more than 80 people have been questioned in the killing, the
probe has been hampered by the political influence of some of those sought
for questioning.
     Three months after Examining Judge Claudy Gassant submitted a request
to have the immunity of a high-profile senator waived for questioning, the
request has still not been answered.
     Senate President Yvon Neptune has said that studying Gassant's request
will take time.
     The press group, known by its French acronym, RSF, asked the
government to provide resources and security for the judge and to lift the
senator's immunity.
     Menard told reporters that if those steps were not taken by May 3, the
group would add Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide's name to its list
of "Predators of Press Freedom," to be distributed to international donor