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a159: Miami Herald: Authorities detain Miami businessman (fwd)
From: leonie hermantin <email@example.com>
Authorities detain Miami businessman following attack on Dec. 17
BY ELAINE DE VALLE
A Miami businessman with U.S. citizenship has been detained by Haitian
police in connection with last week's coup d'etat attempt.
Haitian authorities say Antoine ``Tony'' Saati, 47, is being questioned
about the Dec. 17 attack on the National Palace by more than 20 armed men.
But Gina Saati, who lives in Miami-Dade, said her brother is a
Haitian-American businessman who went to the island nation about three weeks
ago to file an official report on a former employee whom he sued for patent
Saati -- CEO and president of Miami-based One World Corporation, a U.S.
resident since 1978 and naturalized citizen since 1999 -- was taken into
custody by Haitian police Dec. 20, three days after armed men rushed the
presidential palace in what is painted as a failed attempt by the opposition
to overthrow Jean Bertrand Aristide's government.
Haitian National Police spokesman Jean-Dady Simeon confirmed that Saati was
being held for questioning in connection with the Dec. 17 attack, but he
would not give further information about what role police believe he played.
``My brother has nothing to do with the coup,'' said Gina Saati, vice
president of One World, which produces bouillon cubes, candy, notebooks,
light bulbs and toothbrushes, among other items. ``He's an American citizen
who went to take care of his business matters.''
She said Antoine Saati was arrested and beaten by police because he had
filed a lawsuit against two brothers -- including the former employee -- who
she said have ties to the Aristide government.
On Wednesday, Saati was under heavy police guard at a Port-au-Prince
hospital. He was taken there from his jail cell early Sunday, his sister
said, after he drank from a bottle of pine-scented cleaning fluid he grabbed
from the spot where his water should have been. She's not so sure it was a
case of human error.
``Somehow, the bottle of water got switched with the Pine Sol? How? When? At
3 o'clock in the morning?''
She said she believes the former employee was a threat to her brother.
The former employee ``would do anything to eliminate Mr. Saati so Mr. Saati
does not take him to court,'' she said.
Jak Rust, a One World employee, and Gina Saati said Antoine Saati had been
accompanied to the former employee's office in Haiti -- where he was to
serve papers for the January appearance -- by police and his attorney.
Her brother was arrested, she said, while he was meeting with the former
Gina Saati said she has been at the One World corporate office on the 42nd
floor of the Bank of America building in downtown Miami since, calling
embassy officials and the international media, trying to get her brother
``I have not left the company since Thursday afternoon,. I have spent 24
hours in the office since then, including the 24th and Christmas, trying to
save my brother's life,'' she said.
But U.S. officials have not helped, Gina Saati said. ``Everybody is giving
me the same excuse: `It's a holiday. There's nothing we can do now. You have
``We are very disappointed with our consulate. America needs to know that
when you are abroad, they do not really help you.''
Gina Saati said someone with the U.S. consulate in Haiti went to see her
brother at the hospital on Sunday and that Haitian Minister of Justice Gary
Lissard -- who had previously consulted with her brother as a private
attorney -- had ordered police to release her brother. But as of Wednesday
night, he was still guarded by police.
There have been three other confirmed detentions related to the coup
investigation: suspected attacker Pierre Richardson, alleged coup plotter
Guy Francois and Jean Dumel, the caretaker of a house where police say
attackers stayed before the incident.
Dumel, 36, may be charged with complicity, said Simeon, who would not say
how many people had been detained in connection with the plot.
Police were seeking the owner of the house, Albert Dorelien -- who has
another South Florida connection: His brother Carl Dorelien, a colonel in
Haiti's disbanded army, is being held for alleged human rights abuses at the
Krome Detention Center.
Herald staff writer Nancy San Martin contributed to this report, which was
supplemented by The Associated Press.
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