PUBLIC AI Index: AMR 36/010/2002
UA 218/02 Intimidation/Fear for Safety 17 July 2002
HAITISylvie Bajeux (f)] human rights
Jean-Claude Bajeux (m)] defenders
Israel Jacky Cantaves (m), journalist
On 16 July, human rights defender Sylvie Bajeux was attacked in her home in
the Péguyville area of the capital, Port-au-Prince. Amnesty International is
concerned for the safety of Sylvie Bajeux and her husband Jean-Claude, and
fears that this attack may be aimed at trying to prevent them and other human
rights defenders and journalists from carrying out their work.
The attack occurred at around midday, when three armed men broke into the house
where Sylvie Bajeux lives with her husband Jean Claude. The assailants
reportedly beat and tied up the three employees of the Bajeux who were in the
house at the time. One of them then reportedly approached Sylvie Bajeux with
his gun in his hand, knocked her onto the ground and struck her on the back.
The attackers also stole some small items from the house and then left, leaving
the staff and Sylvie Bajeux tied up in the house.
Both Sylvie and Jean Claude Bajeux are long-term human rights defenders. This
is not the first time that they have been attacked and intimidated- they were
also victims of repression during the Duvalier period and under the military
coup. They currently run the well-respected organization Centre Oecuménique
des droits humains (CEDH), Ecumenical Centre for Human Rights.
This attack comes after the kidnapping on 15 July of Israel Jacky Cantave,
an investigative reporter for the Port-au-Prince-based station Radio Caraibes.
He at times used his radio program to highlight human rights issues that CEDH,
among other organizations were working on.
He and his cousin were apparently attacked as they were driving home from work.
The pair were found on Tuesday night, beaten and bound with duct tape, in an
abandoned lot in the Haitian capital. They had reportedly been seized by a
group of armed men who forced their vehicle to stop before abducting them.
According to local sources, Israel Jacky Cantave had received several death
threats in the days preceding the attack. These were reportedly believed to
be linked to his investigative work in the Cite Soleil and La Saline slum areas
of the capital, areas of heavy drug trafficking and gang activity.
The Secretary of State for Communications, Mario Dupuy, stated shortly after
Cantave's abduction that "the government will not tolerate this type of
aggression against journalists and will declare 'zero tolerance' against it"
("Le gouvernement ne va pas tolérer ce type d'agression contre les journalistes
et ce sera la tolérance zéro à ce propos"). However, concerns remain about
the safety of all human rights defenders and journalists in the wake of these