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a285: Haiti-Coup Arrests (fwd)
From: Greg Chamberlain <GregChamberlain@compuserve.com>
By MICHAEL NORTON
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Jan 8 (AP) -- A U.S. citizen detained in connection with
an attack on Haiti's National Palace said on Tuesday he was innocent and
criticized the government for holding him 2 1/2 weeks without a court
Antoine Saati, 47, a Haiti native now from Miami, said he knew nothing
of plans for the Dec. 17 attack, which the government described as a coup
About two dozen armed men stormed the presidential palace and stayed
inside for about seven hours before police retook the building.
Five of the attackers were killed, and police have detained six men on
suspicion of involvement. Authorities are searching for the rest.
Saati was arrested Dec. 20 in Port-au-Prince. He accused a former
business associate of pulling strings to have him arrested over a separate
Saati is the brother of George Saati, an outspoken critic of President
Jean-Bertrand Aristide and lives in Miami. But Antoine Saati said he does
not share his brother's views.
Aristide, who was unharmed in the palace attack, said Monday that
Saati's rights should be protected, but that he would not interfere with
the judicial process.
Saati and his lawyer, Jean-Frederic Sales, say the authorities still
have not charged Saati, even though Haitian law says detainees must have a
hearing and be informed of charges against them within 48 hours.
"We're worried about Mr. Saati's case," said U.S. embassy spokeswoman
Judith Trunzo, who said the United States formally protested the arrest in
a diplomatic note.
Haitian authorities said a hearing Friday was canceled after Saati's
lawyers said he was ill. His lawyers claim a hearing has been scheduled
then canceled five times by authorities.