Haiti Action Committee / HaitiAction.net – 2005-03-14 09:37:34
(March 11, 2005) — Yvon Neptune, Haiti’s prime minister under President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, on a hunger strike since Feb. 20, has fallen into critical condition and was rushed to a hospital by UN soldiers Thursday evening, according to sources in Port-au-Prince.
Neptune and Interior Minister Jocelerme Privert have been refusing food to protest their illegal detention as well as the imprisonment of hundreds of Aristide supporters who have not been charged with any crime.
Prime Minister Neptune was taken to the MINUSTAH hospital — run by the UN Argentinian soldiers — across the highway from the main airport. He was not forced to leave against his will, but was occasionally unconscious.
“It has been a crime for people to express their solidarity with President Aristide in Haiti since the coup d’état against President Aristide Feb. 29,” said Pierre Labossiere, a founding member of the Haiti Action Committee. “It’s a crime punishable by summary execution in thousands of cases.
Those who aren’t killed are put in jail just for expressing their support for Lavalas [Aristide’s party], even wearing Aristide t-shirts in peaceful demonstrations. This is the situation that has kept Prime Minister Yvon Neptune, Minister of the Interior Jocelerme Privert, folk singer Annette Auguste (So Anne) jailed in miserable conditions.
“The prime minister and other political prisoners were facing the prospect of being killed in jail – several unsuccessful attempts against the prime minister’s life had been reported. It was these intolerable conditions that brought the Prime Minister Yvon Neptune and the Minister of the Interior Jocelerme Privert to start a hunger strike.
Political Leaders, Singers, Activists Illegally Imprisoned in Haiti
The Gérard Latortue government, in partnership with the UN and the governments of Canada, France and the United States, bear the ultimate responsibility for the human tragedy that has befallen Haiti since the kidnapping of the popular, democratically-elected President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.”
Visited in his jail cell on Monday by Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Los Angeles, Neptune refused to quit the hunger strike, telling the congresswoman he would not break his fast until the unjust circumstances of his arrest were addressed.
In a press release after the visit, the congresswoman reported: “The conditions that I observed in the prison where Prime Minister Neptune is being held were deplorable. Prime Minister Neptune was weak and could only speak in a whispering voice. He insisted that he had been jailed without justification and that he had committed no crime. He has not been allowed to go before a judge to challenge his confinement as required under the constitution of Haiti, and he believes he has been targeted to be killed.”
She continued: “I urge the interim government of Haiti to set Prime Minister Neptune free and release all political prisoners in Haitian prisons. The interim government’s repression of dissenters like Prime Minister Neptune must end immediately. The whole world is watching.”
Haiti: Letter From Prime Minister Yvon Neptune
by Yvon Neptune / Haiti Action Committee
(March 04, 2005) — To Ambassadors Juan Gabriel Valdes, Special Representative of the Secretary General of the UN Denneth Modest, Special Representative of the Secretary General of the OAS James B. Foley, United States of America Claude Boucher, Canada Thierry Burkard, France Marcel Young, Chile
Ever since my unjust and unjustified incarceration at the National Penitentiary on June 27th 2004, my life has been directly threatened on three (3) occasions.
On the third occasion, Saturday February 19th of the current year, the Government made the decision to place me in isolation, purportedly for my own safety but the end result of this maneuver has been the application of further and apparently intended punishment. Indicative of this is the fact that after I returned to my initial cell after three (3) days in isolation, I am confronting new restrictions whose sole purpose are to humiliate me and above all to render me to the condition of an animal.
Dear Ambassadors, surely you are all aware of the Machiavellian reasons for which since the 29th of February of 2004 I have been the brunt of all sorts of persecutions to force me into exile. Much better than me, you are also aware of the politically motivated vile and cynical objectives of my arbitrary arrest and illegal detention, a detention which has now lasted 8 months and in dehumanizing and insecure conditions.
Despite irrefutable evidence which you all know some hoodlums in St. Marc in collusion with the NCHR and the Government persist in associating my name with their lies. This is of course being done to achieve shameful, monstrous, and macabre political ends which would at the same time mask their own acts of vandalism and assassination.
The Government, cloaked with a spirit of vengeance and with utter disregard for the most elementary principles and practices of law and justice, proceeds with sheer arrogance, not simply to arrest me without a warrant but furthermore to mount a biased and dictatorial Highest Court of Appeals since the constitutional mandate of many of the judges of this Court have long ago expired. They are conspiring to reenact the role of Pontius Pilate in the shamefully illegal case of incarceration and prolonged detention.
It seems that the Government is so infatuated with its power of “conqueror” that it is drooling over the bountiful returns on its investments in the democide and the destruction of the liberating forces of truth which bring forth justice.
With hopes that strong and sincere voices of moral authority and the partisans of justice will say unequivocally to the Government that it must cease to ally itself with delinquents, vandals, notorious assassins, and discredited organizations which shamelessly persist in trying to make me out to be a murderer so they can justify for the benefit of the Government my eventual lynching.
I am sure that the spectacle of my slow and certain death would be much more palatable to the Government and its cohorts.
To facilitate their purpose I have undertaken a hunger strike so that one day my brothers and sisters who are made to wallow in abject misery will no longer be disdained, starved, scorned and ostracized.
(Signed) Yvon Neptune, Political Prisoner February 24th, 2005 Central Prison, Port-au-Prince
CC Congress of the United States of America Caricom African Union Amnesty International International Human Rights Organizations United Nations (UN) Organization of American States (OAS) The Press