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a112: DEATH THREATS (fwd)

From: Stanley Lucas <slucas@iri.org>

St Vincent Herald (Sat 22 Dec 2001)
Journalists seek way out - Article 8

PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti - The Association of Haitian Journalists on
Thursday was continuing negotiations with foreign embassies with a view
to helping journalists facing death threats leave the country,
President Guy Delva said. Delva told the Caribbean Media Corporation
(CMC) that some of the journalists have American visas. He said the
group included the leading and more senior journalists in Haiti. The
threats against the journalists, in the aftermath of a coup attempt
against President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, were reportedly made by
persons aligned with the ruling party. Delva said Haitian journalists
were facing a very difficult and frightening situation. "Many
journalists feel very afraid, they don't go to their radio stations to
work because they are afraid. They have been receiving threats from
groups and since Monday there are at least two radio stations which
stopped broadcasting news," Delva told CMC. "Those two radio stations
continue to play music and no news at all on those radio stations and
several journalists of the two radio stations and of some other radio
stations, have gone undercover and it's a difficult situation for many
journalists here now," he added. On December 3, journalist Brignol
Lindor was hacked to death with a machete by a group of people in the
town of Petite Gouve. He was buried last week Tuesday. It is believed
that his murder and the recent attacks on journalists were led by
supporters of President Jean-Bertrand Arisitide's ruling Lavalas family
party. President Aristide has strongly condemned the ongoing acts of
violence but a very tense situation remains in the capital, Delva
reported. "... He asked the population to work with the Press and to
support the Press, to respect the right of journalists to work freely
and so on and he called on all his followers to respect the press
freedom but in reality, it's not quite that," Delva said. Tensions have
been running high since the failed coup attempt on Monday when armed
gunmen attacked the National Palace but were repelled by security
forces. A group of 30 armed men attacked the palace in downtown
Port-au-Prince before dawn on Monday. Many of the gunmen, who according
to police wore military uniforms similar to those of the disbanded
Haitian army, escaped after killing two police officers at the scene.
Nine people were killed in the palace assault which resulted in mob
violence in the streets of the capital and other cities, officials
said. Police said one gunman died in a shootout with security forces
who fought off the attackers. Press reports said that a former police
officer accused of planning the assault, Guy Philippe, was detained in
Ecuador by the authorities on Wednesday.
 2001 St Vincent and Grenadines Herald