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UA 351/91 - Haiti: legal concern / fear of torture: Lutece Marius plus 10 others

, Index number: AMR 36/016/1991

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AMR 36/16/91
Distr: UA/SC
UA 351/91 Legal Concern/Fear of Torture 22 October 1991
HAITI: Lutèce MARIUS plus 10 others
Amnesty International is concerned at the arrest without warrant of Lutèce
Marius, and approximately 10 other peasants in Bocozelle, Artibonite department
at 5am on 21 October 1991 by members of the armed forces. All were reportedly
taken to St. Marc Prison and there is concern that they may be tortured while
in custody.
Lutèce Marius and the others arrested are all members of the Groupe de
défense des Planteurs de l'Artibonite (Planters' Defence Group of Artibonite),
a peasant land reform pressure group. They are also supporters of President
Jean-Bertrand Aristide who was ousted in a military coup in Haiti in September
1991. According to several peasants who managed to flee the area and avoid
arrest, soldiers entered the house of Lutèce Marius and the homes of the 10
others and took them away without a warrant. Approximately two weeks ago Lutèce
Marius was detained and subsequently released. Other peasant groups as well
as grassroots organizations who were supporters of President Jean-Bertrand
Aristide have reportedly been the object of harassment over the past few weeks.
The offices of the Mouvement Paysan de Papaye (MPP), Papaye Peasant Movement
were in the past few days attacked and ransacked by soldiers. The MPP has
been a long-term target of human rights violations by the armed forces under
previous military regimes in Haiti.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Troops overthrew the democratically elected government of President
Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who took office in Haiti on 7 February 1991, in a coup
d'Etat on Monday 30 September. 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. According to information received by Amnesty International,
members of the armed forces have deliberately shot large numbers of civilians
in different sectors of Port-au-Prince, resulting in hundreds of dead and
wounded. Many of the victims included supporters of President Aristide who
were demonstrating against the coup d'Etat.
Reports of extrajudicial executions include the killing on Monday 30 September
of Radio Caraïbe Director, Jacques Caraïbe after a group of soldiers arrived
at his home, severely beat him in the presence of his family, and took him
away to an unknown destination. His dead body was later found. (see Haiti:
Human Rights Violations in the Aftermath of the Coup d'Etat, October 1991,
AI Index: AMR 36/09/91). Amnesty International also learned of the arrest of
Senatus and Fritzner Nosther, both supporters of President Aristide, who were
arrested and taken to the Thiotte military barracks in Jacmel, south-east
department. There were reports that both men were being tortured (See UA
342/91, AI Index: AMR 36/14/91 of 16 October 1991).
Joseph Nerette, a supreme court judge, was sworn in as Haiti's provisional
president on 9 October 1991. Jean-Jacques Honorat, the former President of
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the Centre Haitien des Droits et Libertés (CHADEL), The Haitian Center for
Human Rights, was ratified by the Chamber of Deputies as Prime Minister of
Haiti on 14 October 1991.
page 2 of UA 351/91
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Telegrams/telexes/faxes/express and airmail letters and
telephone calls:
- expressing concern at the arrest without warrant of Lutèce Marius and
the 10 others arrested with him;
- asking that they be brought before the appropriate judicial authorities,
and charged with a recognizably criminal offence or released;
- asking that their physical integrity be guaranteed while in detention.
APPEALS TO
Son Excellence Monsieur le Président
Président Joseph Nerette
Président de la République d'Haïti
Palais National
Port-au-Prince, Haïti
Telegrams: President Nerette, Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Telexes: 20068 PALAIS , or 20551 SPECEXEC
Faxes: + 509 23 2121
Maître Jean-Jacques Honorat Monsieur le Premier Ministre
Premier Ministre et
Ministre des Affaires Etrangères
Présidence de la République d'Haïti
Port-au-Prince, Haïti
Telegrams: Premier Ministre, Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Faxes: + 509 34 1980
Monsieur le Général Raoul Cedras Monsieur le Général
Commandant-en-Chef des Forces Forces
Armées d'Haïti
Grand Quartier Général des
Forces Armées d'Haïti
Rue Geffrard
Port-au-Prince, Haïti
Telephone: + 509 22 3935
Telexes: 20391 GQFADH
Faxes: + 509 23 9007
Monsieur le Capitaine J.M. Lubin Monsieur le Capitaine
Commandant du District
Militaire de St. Marc
St. Marc
Département de l'Artibonite, Haïti
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Telegrams: Commandant St Marc District Militair, St Marc, Haiti
COPIES TO:
Monsieur le Président de la Chambre des Députés
Assemblée Nationale
Port-au-Prince, Haïti
Maître Eudrice Raymond
Président du Sénat
Assemblée Nationale
Port-au-Prince, Haïti
Haïti en Marche
173 N.W. 94 St.
Miami
Fl 33150, USA
and to diplomatic representatives of Haiti in your country
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 3 December 1991.

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