[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

a799: Haiti journalist, held on kidnap charges, released (fwd)

From: Greg Chamberlain <GregChamberlain@compuserve.com>

     By Michael Deibert

     PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Feb 15 (Reuters) - Haitian authorities on
Friday released a journalist who had been in jail for a week on charges
that he was linked to a kidnapping ring.
     Genet Morin, a reporter for private Magik Stereo FM, was arrested last
Saturday along with several members of an opposition party in a sweep that
critics charge was aimed at the political opposition.
     "They never even told me why they wanted me or what I had been charged
with," Morin said upon his release.
     "I think this was just an attempt to humiliate me. I told them that as
a citizen I have no problem answering their questions, but this situation
was unacceptable."
     Guy Delva, secretary-general of the Association of Haitian
Journalists, said, "Mr. Morin will return to answer questions from Haitian
National Police commissar Josue Pierre Louis as per an agreement with the
     Haitian National Police authorities were not immediately available for
     No details were available on Morin's alleged link to the kidnap ring,
which police say has been targeting members of wealthy families and
demanding heavy ransoms.
     There have been sporadic arrests of gang members in the capital's Cite
Soleil shantytown in connection with the kidnappings.
     On Wednesday police spokesman Jeannot Francois denied the arrests had
been politically motivated saying that those arrested "were present with
the suspects during the mission and were taken into custody accordingly."
     It was not immediately clear whether the charges against Morin would
be dropped.
     Along with Morin, who said he does not belong to any political
organization, more than a dozen others were arrested including eight
activists of the opposition Confederation of Democratic Unity party (KID).
     Among the KID members seized was Jean Mandenave, a former deputy in
the Haitian parliament. KID leader Evans Paul charged that the arrests were
"another example of actions to thwart negotiations and intimidate the
opposition and the press."
     The opposition Democratic Convergence coalition, of which KID is a
member, has been locked in a bitter, nearly two-year dispute with the
government of Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide's Lavalas Family
party over disputed elections held in May 2000.
     Domestic and foreign critics charge the elections were rigged to give
Mr. Aristide's party more seats than were its due.
     Despite several calls by Aristide for negotiations, including marathon
mediation efforts by the Organization of American States, the two sides
have not met in over a year. As a result of the stalemate, over $500
million of desperately needed foreign aid has been withheld.