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a405: REPORT - ASSASSINATION OF THE REPORTER BRIGNOL (PART II)(fwd)
From: Stanley Lucas <email@example.com>
The professional environment at the Customs bureau where Lindor also worked remains equally silent and unwilling to give any testimony on this case to date as well. Everyone is reluctant to disclose information on the last persons with whom Lindor met, those who left at the same time as he the Customs office on motorcycles that morning and who have taken apparently the same route as Lindor as he and his friend headed to Miragoane.
At the Law School of Miragoane, those who knew Lindor paint him as "one of the most intelligent products of his generation"Y as a "promotor of non-violence and a follower of Gandhi's philosophy".
THE ATTITUDE OF THE JUDICIAL AUTHORITIES
The Commission found out that the judicial authorities exhibited a "Pontius Pilate" attitude in the days that followed the murder of Journalist Lindor. At Petit Goave where there exist several courts: civil, penal, administrative, etc.) no official seems to know where to begin, neither do they seem to know how to proceed so that the assailants be found and punished, given the tense environment where people are subject to constant threats. No Justice of the Peace has done a report of the murder. The Substitute Judge was late getting to the scene and had to go to the funeral home that was made accessible to television, photographers, and the general public.
The assassination of the journalist remains hypothetical for a "frightened" judicial body with limited ability. The trial judges whose mission is to hear crime and garnish the assets of the criminals after being found guilty, remind us that they cannot do miracles in a town dominated by politics and which overpowers the judicial system. Nothing can be accomplished if the State Attorney does not begin the process.
The judicial authorities are passing the ball amongst themselves to date and try they best to avoid it hitting anyone's net or touching any camp in order to protect the Department of Justice of Petit Goave. The procedures exist. Unfortunately, the justice system at Petit Goave remains in an ad hoc state. It just lost a journalist but also a young lawyer with a bright future.
All in all, in the context of threats against the Magistrate, no commission has ordered adequate prosecution that would motivate them and outline the various procedural operations. Instructions are lacking.
The Federation's Commission has reminded the judicial authorities of Petit Goave with whom we have met that all persons suffering loss from a crime (for example in this case, Lindor's family) may make bring civil suit and, the District Attorney's Office owes them protection. Or the District Attorney is himself seeking protection from the "Instruction" Judge who categorically refuses to hear the case for the aforementioned reasons.
The State Attorney called to manage the situation mentions "warrants" to appear. The District Attorney's Office must also send a request for supplemental information to the Police Department for the immediate activation of the investigation prior to proceeding with searches in the crime area and of the home of any suspect who may have participated in the act or withholding evidence. This investigation could also be handled by the Procurer to gather all elements prior to disclosing information in time to proceed with complete and broader investigations. If the case is filed with no follow up, the family plans on filing a complaint directly to the International Court with all possible consequences. Breaking into tears, Lindor's father, Mr. Belozier Lindor who belted his waste with his son's shirt explained to the Federation's Commission: "Brignol meant everything to us, his mother passed away two years ago, she was advised, she knows the names of all the assassins and I have filed a complaint to God and to the invisible Tirbunal. If justice is not granted on this earth, God will answer."
THE ATTITUDE OF CITY OFFICIALS
The attitude of the municipal authorities is also part of the problem. The three-member Commission is comprised of representatives of the Fanmi Lavalas Party in Petit Goave. The Mayor, Emmanuel Antoine and Adjunct Mayors Cemeres Beauliere and Dumay Bony are all tied to the ASEC and to the Inter-Departmental Councils. Although they represent a decentralized constituency, they are "a priori" members of a political party and they adhere and submit to the party's politics and philosophies. Justice as they would like to see it is primarily that of the party. They do not tolerate any contest of their party at Petit Goave. They complement the Police Department and help in the arrest of any anti-lavalas demonstrator, as for example on December 3rd, 2001, "to ensure order and security in the city."
Mr.Bony Dumay who has himself called for the application of zero tolerance (public lynching of certain individuals whom they presume are members of the democratic opposition). Dumay has on his own legitimacy denied any responsibility for the crime and wishes that the Legislators elected in the May 21, 2000 election shows solidarity to the City, under the pretext that Brignol Lindor had a bad "attitude" and divulged tracts against the government.
Having been rejected by the Legislature, whose members have expressed rather openly their wish to see the Mayor arrested to "facilitate the investigation on the cruel infliction on the Journalist", Mr. Bony returns to Petit Goave, satisfied by the Police Department's refusal to address him and his action, on the basis that they did not receive any order from the General Director of the Police Nationale d'Haiti.
The Council of Petit Goave reacted immediately, protesting against this arrest warrant on the Mayor at Port-au-Prince. Better yet, they claim procedural guarantees at Petit Goave. The Police Officers delegated to serve the warrant to Mr. Bony had to return, following the Mayor's reminder that he was still the Mayor and that he is entitled to and should enjoy immunity which he threatened they cannot violate without severe consequences. The police officers were told that the mayor couldn't be the objet of any sanctioning measure without being invited to provide written explanation on the matter he is accused of.
The attitude of the City Council is situated in the context of the multitude of officials following the same governing mechanisms. Especially when most of the official positions throughout the City were offered by the governing party (Fanmi Lavalas) through its direct representatives at Petit Goave.
The Federation's Investigation Commission has therefore noted that incorrect procedures were applied to keep Mayor Bony from appearing in Court, few days prior to the funerals of the journalist. Claiming the "out of cause" principle, the Mayor does not plan to respond to any request to appear since he claims that he is "simply being defamed without cause". During his visit to the Legislature, the Mayor was, according to eyewitnesses, by about a dozen members of the organization "Domi lan Bwa" accused of murdering Lindor.
THE ATTITUDE OF THE POLICE DEPARTMENT
The Petit Goave Police reacted in a disorderly manner; making declarations, which after the murder of the journalist, had unfortunately not helped restore trust. "La main courante" which must record grave incidents reported to avoid that proof be vanished, did not notify the emergency system until hours after the incident.
The police unit did not deem necessary to go to the crime scene with a Justice of the Peace the same day either. In addition, it slowed its actions since the body was already brought to the funeral home. In addition, two days after the assassination, the Police announced that it was difficult to find any suspect or any witness, the crime scenes having been "deserted".
The Federation's Commission noted the declaration of the Chief of Police at Petit Goave who prior to engaging in the investigation made some affirmations which he later denied, notably on the gravity of the situation. At first, the Petit Goave Chief of Police explains that the journalist was simply injured, according apparently to police reports based on rumors. Then, the amalgam "member of the Convergence" was also twisted in the plate irrespective of the necessary abstentions necessary in confused situations and cases. The Police Chief later came back on these issues, looking to benefit from his own mistakes, thus embarrassing the Police Department.
The Federation's Investigation Commission noticed a "panic" atmosphere in the days that followed the assassination. The Petit Goave Police Department called for back up and spread the city with tear gas. The police officers went as far as throwing grenades in the deceased's house where the grieving family was crying for his death. Lindor's house was confused for a "gathering". The excessive spread of tear gas caused the death of two (2) newborns and the elder Mrs. Lucarne Dorleans who came from New York following the September 11th attack to retire in peace in her hometown.
The Federation's Investigation Commission estimates that the tear gas used by the police to "calm" the population at Petit Goave, following the assassination of Brignol Lindor is strongly toxic. The level of carbon monoxide in these gases is too high. The journalists who have inhaled this oxy carbonated gas experienced collective troubles during several hours notably: breathing difficulties, severe headaches, nausea, and fainting.
Intoxication by inhalation of these non recommended tear gases can cause death and can leave severe and disturbing neurological consequences. The attitude of the police following the murder of Brignol has not ameliorated existing tense relations between the population and the Police Department of Petit Goave which is not yet assimilated to a Community Police.
THE ATTITUDE OF THE >ASSEMBLEE DE SECTION COMMUNALE
The members of the Assemblee de Section Communale (ASEC) implicated in the affair attempt to bail their representative from Croix Hilaire, Mr. Petiel Fils Zephyr who claimed to have been absent from the crime scene the day of Brignol's assassination. His brother Maxi Zephyr remains in hiding.
The Federation's Commission heard this name on several occasions as one of the five (5) principal assailants who hit the journalist, supported by a crowd of about 50 delirious individuals, presumed members of the political organization "Domi lan bwa" which claims appurtenance to Fanmi Lavalas. The ASEC members who work collaboratively, generally vote strictly on local affairs. The mobilization to kill Lindor appears to be apparently pre-meditated in this region of l'Acul where the leaders have a preponderant influence.
In their defense, the supporters of Mr. Zephyr claim that the journalist had with him in the car, armed men who fired on them. One of them even gave the precision that the gun in question was a 12 caliber. This appears improbable. Neither the empty bullets, nor anyone injured by such a hunting gun have been loated. This accusation which paints journalist Lindor as a guerillero does not hold strong. The Association des Journalistes de Petit Goave (AJPEG) find this story to be too sad.
THE ATTITUDE OF THE ASSOCIATION DES JOURNALISTES DE PETIT GOAVE
The Association des Journalistes de Petit Goave (AJPEG) receives this shock with stoicism. The members cry onstantly as they continue to practice their professions as Press Correspondents, informing the world of the situation behind the hills of Tapion. With muh pain in their voices, leaving in relative poverty, and with limited eonomic resources, these journalists whose sole fortune is their dignity are being threatened and murdered.
Responsible for judicial affairs within the Haitian Press Federation, AJPEG immediately requested from all the other press associations within the Haitian Press Federation disseminated throughout the country to reate in the immediate a Preliminary Investigation Commission. That Commission would have representatives from the nine (9) geographical departments, would investigate the fats surrounding the murder of their colleague Brignol Lindor.
AJPEG has also requested that all radio and television stations observe a call from the Federation to halt regular programming until Brignol's funerals and to not air especially any statements from the authorities who have called for the lynching of the News Director of Radio Echo 2000 of Petit Goave, Brignol Lindor.
The Association of Journalists of Petit Goave has reqested and obtained the total spport of the Church which has condemned the crime. The position of Father Alexandre and Augustin Miguel has been remarkable in this case. The Association des Journalistes de Petit Goave questions the silence of Father Carre and has openly requested that Father Carre gives a clear statement on Lindor's assassination and provide his version to the church for the investigation.
The funeral ceremony (mass) was broadasted in Jacmel. The solidarity between the two associations, and the members of the Haitian Press Federation was perfect. In solidarity, the town of Jacmel dedicated held on Sunday, December 9th, a mass in the name of the journalist and dedicated ongoing radio programs on the life and accomplishments of Brignol.
The Ordre des Journalistes du Nord (The Order of Journalists of the North) which gathers five (5) different press associations from the north organized at the request of the Association des Journalistes de Petit Goave (AJPEG), following the Federation's instructions, organized a funeral mass in Cap Haitian on Monday, December 10th, 2001. Following the mass, the members of the Order of Journalists of the North held a sit-in on the Place d'Armes du Cap-Haotien, pledging to continue the fight for the freedom of the press.
The Union des Journalistes de Hinh and the Association des Journalistes de Mirebalais organized on behalf of the Federation several similar demonstrations in solidarity to AJPEG which requested that Plateau Central be in the heart of the investigation.
The Association ode Solidarity des Journalistes du Sud (Solidarity Association of Journalists of the South) planed to bring the case of Lindor's assassination to the attention of international organizations for human rights at the request of the Association des Journalistes de Petit Goave so that international investigators seek the fats surrounding Lindor's murder and force the authorities to act accordingly to keep such acts from recurring in the country.
The Association des Journalistes du Nord Est and the Association de Presse de Trou du Nord planned to organize on behalf of the Federation, on December 12th and 13th, 2001 two general grieving and reflections days on Brignol Lindor at Fort Liberte. AJPEG specifically asked the northeast section of the country to bring the issue to the attention of all north American organizations working for the protection of journalists where they have an important audience.
The Comités de Presse de la Grand'Anse have declared 3 grieving days in the department, in memory of Brignol Lindor and all radio and television have aired only circumnstancial music at the request of the Haitian Press Federation.
The Association de Medias du Nord'Ouest, the Association des Journalistes de Bas Artibonite and the Association des Journalistes des Gonaives along with Port-au-prince Presse Club have sent delegations at Petit Goave as a sign of solidarity to AJPEG and as a response to AJPEG's request for the creation of a preliminary investigation commission on Lindor's assassination. All associations, members of the Federation have sent floral arrangements to Lindor's family from notably: Cap Haitien, Cayes, Fort-Liberte, Port-de-Paix, St. Marc, Gonaives, Jacmel, Jeremie, Port-a-Prince, Mirebalais, and Hinche. AJPEG's response to the solidarity demonstrated by other associations was drafted in a letter addressed to all the associations from the aforementioned areas. In the letter, AJPEG mentioned: "The Adjunct General Secretary of the Association des Journalistes de Petit Goave who has been assassinated awaits for justice so that freedom may never be buried". AJPEG expresses that such solidarity must continue to avoid a disguised investigation in the town of Petit Goave.
HAITIAN PRESS FEDERATION'S RECOMMENDATIONS
The Preliminary Investigation Commission of the Haitian Press Federation is presently making the following recommendations:
That journalist Lindor's family which is left to fan for itself since Lindor's assassination receive compensation with interests in the form of a pension which will afford assistance to Lindor's surviving father and the relative children that Lindor had to his charge.
That an internal police investigation be conducted immediately with due consideration on the Petit Goave Police department, its resources, its capabilities, its operational ability, and its liabilities so that guilt or innocence of one or the other be determined. This will give way to proper administration of the institution and will help rebuild the police department's image and the public' trust in that institution.
That an investigation by the judicial police be opened immediately on the crime scene to reconstitute the event to identify the culprits and bring them to justice and punish them accordingly without delay.
That a warrant be issued by the State Attorney to begin the suit process and witnesses prior to bringing the record for judgement.
That a criminal judge be chosen without delay to issue warrants and collect deposition from all those denounced by the public, in hope that the process does not exceed the statutory limitation prescribed by law.
That an executive order authorizing that the municipal council be brought to the court.
That the organization "Domi lan Bwa" be the object of serious investigation so that the five (5) assailants and the 50 killers be found, judged, and condemned, including any member of the municipal council who might be implicated in this assassination act.
That an independent investigation commission be created and that it includes two (2) human rights representatives, two press representatives, a member of the police department, a member of the public, an international observer from the United Nations specialized in human rights affairs.
That the independent investigation commission publish and divulge the results obtained every three (3) months and that his final report is returned to the authorities prior to the opening of the criminal suit.
That all members of the Haitian Press Federation and media throughout t he country express constant solidarity with the Association des Journalistes de Petit Goave, one of the leading national press organizations within the Federation maintaining thus the commitment: SOLIDARITY FIRST, AND SOLIDARITY ALWAYS for a permanent combat in favor of freedom of the press and against crime in Haiti.
Done at Petit Goave, December 11th, 2001
Haitian Press Federation
Ouest: AdyJeanGardy, President, Michelène Hilaire, Secrétaire Général de l'Association des Journalites de Petit Goave, Cherizard Robens, Coordonateur de Port-au-Prince Presse Club, Evans Duval Cadet, Secrétaire Général de l'Association des Journalistes de Sante, Maryse Balthazard Amicale des Femmes Journalistes.
Nord'Est: David Michel, Secrétaire General de l'Association des Journalistes du Nord'Est, Secretaire General de la Federation et Jocelyn St.Hilaire Coordinateur du Centre de Presse de Trou du Nord.
Nord'Ouest: Emmerlin Saintil Secrétaire Général de l'Assoiation des Médias du Nord'Ouest, Raymond Aristide Secretaire General Ass. Des Journalistes du Nord'Ouest.
Nord: Jean Etienne Secrétaire Général de l'Ordre de Journalistes du Nord, Franck Joue de la Société des Journalistes du Nord, William Benard, Yves Martin Jasmin Société Capoise de Presse.
Artibonite: Justin Altidor Secrétaire Général Association des Journalistes du Haut Artibonte, Rene JosueArdophe Marc Antoine, Association des Medias de l'Artibonite, et Agustin Frantz Secrétaire Général Association des Journalistes du Bas Artibonite.
Centre: Procede Wilcede, Secrétaire Général du Haut Plateau Central Dellile Exil; Patrick Pierre Louis Secrétaire Général de l'Association des Journalistes du Bas Plateau Central, Vadre Val, Moleon Richard, Assistant
Sud'Est: Jacques Phillipe Jovin, Secretaire General de l'Association des Journalistes du Sud'Est Renand Toussaint Secretaire General de l'Association des Journalistes de Anse à Pitre, Francky Depestre Jean Lesly Ambroise, Associatoin des Medias du Sud Est
Sud: Ernst Eliscar, Secretaire General de l'Association de Solidarite des Journalistes du Sud et Roody Balan, Secretaire General de l'Association des Medias du Sud
Grand'Anse: Lucner Laguerre Secretaire General de l'Association des Comite de Presse de la Grand'Anse.