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a754: Journalists Seek Way Out (fwd)

From: JD Lemieux <lxhaiti@yahoo.com>

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.


 2002 St Vincent and Grenadines Herald

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