World Human Rights Leaders Call for Freedom for Pere Jean-Juste and Yvon Neptune

I World Human Rights Leaders Call for Freedom for Pere Jean-Juste, Yvon Neptune and Other Haitian Political Prisoners

By BILL QUIGLEY, Loyola University New Orleans School of Law. Bill is a volunteer lawyer for Pere Jean-Juste with the Institute for Justice and Democracy, www.ijdh.org assisting Mario Joseph of the Bureau des Advocats Internationaux. Bill can be reached at Quigley@loyno.edu


What do the UN Commision on Human Rights, Irish members of Parliament, and International Human Rights Lawyers in Bulgaria have in common? They have all recently called for the immediate release of political prisoners in Haiti, specifically for the release of Fr. Gerard Jean-Juste and Yvon Neptune.

Louis Joinet, the Haiti expert for the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, investigated the human rights situation in Haiti over the past two weeks. Joinet condemned the jailing of Pere Gerard Jean-Juste and Yvon Neptune, former Prime Minister of Haiti.

Fr. Jean-Juste, often called the Martin Luther King of Haiti, was beaten by a mob in church and arrested by the police while participating in a funeral on July 21, 2005. He was immediately declared a Prisoner of Conscience by Amnesty International and has been held in jail without formal charges ever since. Yvon Neptune, who was Prime Minister of Haiti, has been in jail since May 2004 also without trial. No trials are planned for either prisoner, or any of the other hundreds of political prisoners jailed in Haiti.

Joinet told the Associated Press the charges against Jean-Juste “seem quite weak” and questioned the motives for detaining the priest, who had been seen by some as a potential presidential contender in upcoming elections. “When a prisoner remains in jail longer than what the law allows, he becomes a political prisoner. This seems to be the case for Jean-Juste,” said Joinet. “If the Haitian judiciary does not have the means to try the people it detains, it should be compelled to release them” he concluded.

The UN call for the release of Haiti,s political prisoners follows two other international demands for their freedom.

The International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL), meeting in Bulgaria recently in early November, called for freedom for all political prisoners in Haiti and singled out the case of Fr. Gerard Jean-Juste for special mention.

Later in November, members of the Irish Parliament called for the release of Fr. Jean-Juste, Yvon Neptune and all political prisoners. Parlimentarians of Sinn Fein, the Green Party, and Independents also called for full and free elections in Haiti.

The unelected powers of Haiti have labeled Fr. Jean-Juste “the most dangerous man in Haiti for his unrelenting calls for freedom for prisoners, his feeding of the poor, and his insistence on the restoration of democracy.

Meanwhile, elections in Haiti have been postponed yet again as criticisms of the fairness of the electoral process mount.

Supporters of real democratic elections criticize an election process which refuses to free hundreds of supporters of President Jean Bertrand Aristide, like Pere Jean-Juste and Yvon Neptune, who are jailed without charges or prospects of trial.

Supporters of real democratic elections note that even those who are willing to vote face real problems. Unelected Haitian authorities have reduced the number of polling places from over 4000 to only few hundred, with fewest in the poorer neighborhoods. Compare Los Angeles, a city with slightly larger population condensed in smaller geography, which has over 4400 polling places. How would the people of Los Angeles vote if their polling places were reduced by 90% and mostly located in high income areas?

Lethal mass violence by police and paramilitary groups continue to plague the poor neighborhoods of Port au Prince. UN troops have been accused of shielding police from accountability and even participating directly in violence in poor neighborhoods.

The people of Haiti deserve democracy as much as anyone else. Elections in this atmosphere will likely be viewed more as selections than elections. As Fr. Jean-Juste said frequently before he was jailed: “Free political prisoners, stop human rights abuses, and restore democracy. ”

Irish leaders said in their statement all political prisoners must be released and all political exiles must be allowed to return in order to participate in Haitian elections. Everyone, not just the rich, must be given an equal opportunity to vote and have their vote counted in a fair and transparent manner. Most of all, the violent repression directed at the poor must stop. Elections should not be held unless and until these conditions are met.

Free political prisoners. Stop human rights abuses against the poor. Restore democracy. It is difficult to imagine legitimate free democratic elections otherwise.

BILL QUIGLEY is a professor at the Loyola University-New Orleans School of Law. He is a volunteer lawyer for Pere Jean-Juste with the Institute for Justice and Democracy, www.ijdh.org assisting Mario Joseph of the Bureau des Advocats Internationaux. He can be reached at Quigley@loyno.edu



More articles by:

Bill Quigley teaches law at Loyola University New Orleans and can be reached at quigley77@gmail.com.

March 21, 2018
Paul Street
Time is Running Out: Who Will Protect Our Wrecked Democracy from the American Oligarchy?
Mel Goodman
The Great Myth of the So-Called “Adults in the Room”
Chris Floyd
Stumbling Blocks: Tim Kaine and the Bipartisan Abettors of Atrocity
Eric Draitser
The Political Repression of the Radical Left in Crimea
Patrick Cockburn
Erdogan Threatens Wider War Against the Kurds
John Steppling
It is Us
Thomas Knapp
Death Penalty for Drug Dealers? Be Careful What You Wish for, President Trump
Manuel García, Jr.
Why I Am a Leftist (Vietnam War)
Isaac Christiansen
A Left Critique of Russiagate
Howard Gregory
The Unemployment Rate is an Inadequate Reporter of U.S. Economic Health
Ramzy Baroud
Who Wants to Kill Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah?
Roy Morrison
Trouble Ahead: The Trump Administration at Home and Abroad
Roger Hayden
Too Many Dead Grizzlies
George Wuerthner
The Lessons of the Battle to Save the Ancient Forests of French Pete
Binoy Kampmark
Fictional Free Trade and Permanent Protectionism: Donald Trump’s Economic Orthodoxy
Rivera Sun
Think Outside the Protest Box
March 20, 2018
Jonathan Cook
US Smooths Israel’s Path to Annexing West Bank
Jeffrey St. Clair
How They Sold the Iraq War
Chris Busby
Cancer, George Monbiot and Nuclear Weapons Test Fallout
Nick Alexandrov
Washington’s Invasion of Iraq at Fifteen
David Mattson
Wyoming Plans to Slaughter Grizzly Bears
Paul Edwards
My Lai and the Bad Apples Scam
Julian Vigo
The Privatization of Water and the Impoverishment of the Global South
Mir Alikhan
Trump and Pompeo on Three Issues: Paris, Iran and North Korea
Seiji Yamada
Preparing For Nuclear War is Useless
Gary Leupp
Brennan, Venality and Turpitude
Martha Rosenberg
Why There’s a Boycott of Ben & Jerry’s on World Water Day, March 22
John Pilger
Skripal Case: a Carefully-Constructed Drama?
March 19, 2018
Henry Heller
The Moment of Trump
John Davis
Pristine Buildings, Tarnished Architect
Uri Avnery
The Fake Enemy
Patrick Cockburn
The Fall of Afrin and the Next Phase of the Syrian War
Nick Pemberton
The Democrats Can’t Save Us
Nomi Prins 
Jared Kushner, RIP: a Political Obituary for the President’s Son-in-Law
Georgina Downs
The Double Standards and Hypocrisy of the UK Government Over the ‘Nerve Agent’ Spy Poisoning
Dean Baker
Trump and the Federal Reserve
Colin Todhunter
The Strategy of Tension Towards Russia and the Push to Nuclear War
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
US Empire on Decline
Ralph Nader
Ahoy America, Give Trump a Taste of His Own Medicine Starting on Trump Imitation Day
Robert Dodge
Eliminate Nuclear Weapons by Divesting from Them
Laura Finley
Shame on You, Katy Perry
Weekend Edition
March 16, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Michael Uhl
The Tip of the Iceberg: My Lai Fifty Years On
Bruce E. Levine
School Shootings: Who to Listen to Instead of Mainstream Shrinks
Mel Goodman
Caveat Emptor: MSNBC and CNN Use CIA Apologists for False Commentary
Paul Street
The Obama Presidency Gets Some Early High Historiography