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UA 424/91 - Haiti: legal concern / fear of ill-treatment: Margareth Dufour (nee Degand)

, Index number: AMR 36/033/1991

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AMR 36/33/91
Distr: UA/SC
Please bring this Urgent Action to the attention of medical groups in your section
UA 424/91 Legal concern/Fear of ill-treatment 4 December 1991
HAITI Margareth DUFOUR (née DEGAND) (f)
Amnesty International is concerned for the physical safety of Margareth Dufour (née Degand),
a medical surgeon, who was arrested in Port-au-Prince on 30 November 1991 by members of
the Armed Forces. She is a neighbour and friend of Jean-Robert Sabalat, Minister of Foreign
Affairs in the deposed government of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
According to the information received by Amnesty International, on Saturday 30 November
1991, soldiers of the Armed Forces of Haiti went to the home of Margareth Dufour and her
husband Christian, a French citizen who is confined to bed following a serious accident.
The soldiers were reportedly looking for Jean-Robert Sabalat, who apparently was a frequent
visitor of the house. Jean-Robert Sabalat, whose house was searched without a warrant
by soldiers in mid-October, has been in hiding since the 30 September coup d'état. The
soldiers were accompanied by a Juge de Paix, justice of the peace, and they reportedly
declared that they found grenades and ammunition belonging to Jean-Robert Sabalat in
Margareth Degand's house. However, some reports have indicated that the soldiers brought
the weapons into the house in order to incriminate Jean-Robert Sabalat. Since they could
not find Jean-Robert Sabalat, the soldiers arrested Margareth Dufour, and reportedly accused
her of harbouring him.
Following Margareth Dufour's arrest, Jean-Robert Sabalat issued a statement denying
possessing weapons. Margareth Dufour is reportedly detained in the caserne de Pétionville,
Pétionville military barrack. Amnesty International is concerned for her physical safety.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
On Monday 30 September, troops overthrew the government of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide,
who had taken office on 7 February 1991. Since then Amnesty International has learned
of widespread human rights violations committed by the security forces, including a large
number of extrajudicial executions, beatings and mass arrests without warrant. Many of
the victims included supporters of President Aristide and members and leaders of grassroots
organizations.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Telegrams/telexes/telephone calls/faxes/airmail letters:
- seeking guarantees that her physical integrity will be respected while in military custody;
- requesting clarification of her legal situation.
APPEALS TO
1) President:
Son Excellence Monsieur le Président
Maître Joseph C. NERETTE Dear President
Président de la République d'Haïti
Palais National
Port-au-Prince, Haïti
Telegrams: President Nerette, Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Telephone: + 509 22 4020
Telexes: 20068 palais or 20551 specexec
Faxes: + 509 23 2121
Page 2 of UA 424/91
2) Prime Minister:
Maître Jean-Jacques HONORAT Monsieur le Premier Ministre
Premier Ministre, Ministre Dear Prime Minister
des Affaires Etrangères
Présidence de la République de Haïti
Palais National
Port-au-Prince, Haïti
Telegrams: Premier Ministre Honorat, Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Faxes: + 509 22 1147
3) Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces:
Monsieur le Général Raoul CEDRAS Monsieur le Général
Commandant-en-Chef des Forces Dear General
Armées d'Haïti
Grand Quartier Général des Forces Armées d'Haïti
Rue Geffrard
Port-au-Prince, Haïti
Telegrams: Comandant-en-Chef des Forces Armees Cedras, Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Telephone: + 509 22 3935
Telexes: 20391 GQFADH
Faxes: + 509 23 9007; + 509 23 9407
4) Head of the Police:
Monsieur le Majeur Michel FRANÇOIS Monsieur le Majeur
Chef de la Police Nationale Dear Major
Grand Quartier Général de la Police
Port-au-Prince, Haïti
Telegrams: Chef de la Police Nationale, Port-au-Prince, Haiti
5) Minister of Justice:
Monsieur Antoine LECONTE Monsieur le Ministre
Ministère de la Justice Dear Minister
Cité de l'Exposition
Port-au-Prince, Haïti
Telegrams: Ministre de la Justice Leconte, Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Telephone: + 509 45 0474 or 45-1626
Telexes: 20166 Justice
COPIES TO:
Chamber of Deputies:
Monsieur le Président
Chambre des Députés
Assemblée National
Port-au-Prince, Haïti President of the Senate:
Maître Eudrice RAYMOND
Président du Sénat
Assemblée Nationale
Port-au-Prince, Haïti Haiti en Marche (newspaper)
173 N.W. 94 St
Miami
FL 33150, USA
and to diplomatic representatives of Haiti in your country. [Please note: Haiti's diplomatic
representations still represent the government of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.]
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat, or your section
office, if sending appeals after 15 January 1992.

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