EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AMR 36/02/93
19 January 1993
Further information on UA 08/93 (AMR 36/01/93, 12 January 1993) - Legal
concern/Fear of torture
HAITI:Gisèle SAINT-FIRMIN, female (previously known as Joseph St-
Morpeau (second name unknown)
and five others (names unknown to Amnesty International)
Amnesty International is concerned at reports that Gisèle Saint-Firmin is being
beaten in custody and that the authorities are refusing her access to her lawyer.
Gisèle Saint-Firmin is the mother of Marie-Josée Saint-Firmin, who is the local
branch secretary of Lavalas, the political movement that supported deposed
President Jean Bertrand Aristide. On 8 January 1993 members of the security
forces reportedly arrived at Gisèle Saint-Firmin's home looking for her
daughter, who is in hiding. The latter had apparently attended a commemorative
mass in memory of Jean-Claude Museau, a school teacher who died a year earlier
as a result of torture suffered in detention (see AMR 36/03/92 Haiti: Human
rights violations since the coup). The security forces reportedly searched
the house and arrested Gisèle Saint-Firmin after she told them that she did
not know of her daughter's whereabouts.
The military in Les Cayes have apparently stated that they would only free
Gisèle Saint-Firmin if her daughter gave herself up. Gisèle Saint-Firmin,
who is 53, suffers from high blood pressure and cirrhosis.
Amnesty International remains concerned for the safety of Gisèle Saint-Firmin.
The organisation has no further information as to the fate of the other above
mentioned people arrested in Les Cayes. Please continue sending appeals on
FURTHER RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes and airmail
letters either in French, English or your own language:
- expressing concern at the reported ill-treatment in custody of Gisèle
- asking that her physical integrity be guaranteed while in custody and that
she be given immediate access to her lawyer and any appropriate medical care;
- asking that allegations of ill-treatment be investigated and those found
responsible be brought to justice;
- asking that she be immediately brought before a judge and charged with a
recognizably criminal offence or released.