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UA 72/93 - Haiti: fear of torture / legal concern: Viergela Paul

, N° d'index: AMR 36/012/1993

Viergela Paul was reportedly arrested on 7 March 1993 in Thomonde, Centre department, on 7 March 1993, accused of trying to organize the population against the government. Unconfirmed reports suggest that her family has been asked to pay the local rural police chief to ensure that she is not beaten. AI is extremely concerned for her safety. Viergela Paul is the aunt of Jolet Paul, a human rights activist imprisoned in 1992. Jolet Paul's sister-in-law was killed in 1992 as a result of an attack on the Papaye Peasant Movement (MPP); his brother is also a member of the MPP. Since the coup in 1991, many people have reportedly been victimized on account of their relatives' activities.

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AMR 36/12/93
Distr: UA/SC
UA 72/93 Fear of torture/Legal concern 15 March 1993
HAITI: Viergéla PAUL (female)
Amnesty International is concerned for the physical safety of Viergéla Paul,
who was reportedly arrested by the local chef de section (rural police chief)
on 7 March 1993 in the locality of Thomonde, in Haiti's Centre department.
According to the information received by Amnesty International, Viergéla Paul
was accused of trying to organize the population against the government. She
is the aunt of Jolet Paul, a human rights activist who was himself arrested
by the local military in Mirebalais, Centre department, on 30 June 1992, on
the grounds that he contacted Amnesty International in order to obtain the
release of several prisoners. Jolet Paul's sister-in-law was reportedly killed
as a result of an attack on members of the Mouvman Peyizan Papay (MPP), Papaye
Peasant Movement, in Marécage, Mirebalais, shortly before his arrest. His
brother, Léogène Paul, a member of the MPP, a peasant organization which has
been severely targeted since the September 1991 coup, was arrested and detained
for a short period in 1991. Since the coup, Amnesty International has received
numerous reports of people being singled out for abuse on account of their
relatives' activities.
Amnesty International has received unconfirmed reports that Viergéla Paul's
family was asked to pay the local rural chief some 1,500 gourdes (about US$160)
to ensure that she would not be beaten. Amnesty International has been concerned
at the numerous reports that many victims of human rights violations have been
extorted money by the Haitian authorities in order not to arrest or torture
them, in order to secure better prison conditions, or simply to ensure
protection. The organization is therefore extremely concerned for the physical
security of Viergéla Paul.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Troops violently overthrew the democratically elected government of President
Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who took office in Haiti on 7 February 1991, in a coup
on the night of 29 to 30 September 1991. Since then Amnesty International
has learned of widespread human rights violations committed by the security
forces, including large numbers of extrajudicial executions, torture and
ill-treatment and mass arrests without warrant. Several of those detained by
the authorities remain "disappeared". These abuses have been carried out by
uniformed security force agents or, on some occasions, by men in civilian clothes
ostensibly linked to them.
Members of the MPP have, since the coup, been heavily targeted by the
authorities. In early October 1991 the MPP headquarters in Papaye were attacked
and ransacked by soldiers, and its leader, Chavannes Jean-Baptiste, as well
as other prominent MPP members have since been in hiding. Several other of
its members have been subjected to serious human rights violations. Abuses
against the MPP and other members of grassroots organizations since the coup
have been extensively documented by Amnesty International (See Haiti: The Human
Rights Tragedy - Human rights violations since the coup, AI Index AMR 36/03/92,
January 1992 and Haiti: Human rights held to ransom, AI Index AMR 36/41/92,
August 1992).
Page 2 of UA 72/93
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express and airmail letters
either in French, English or in your own language:
- asking for clarification of the reasons for the arrest of Viergéla Paul and
information about her current legal situation;
- asking that she be promptly brought before a judge according to Haitian law and
that she be charged with a recognizable criminal offence or be released;
- asking that she be given access to legal counsel and family visits;
- expressing concern at the reported threats to beat her, and asking that all necessary
steps be taken to guarantee her physical integrity.
APPEALS TO
1) Prime Minister:
Marc BAZIN Salutation: Monsieur le Premier Minister /
Premier Ministre Dear Prime Minister
Palais National
Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Telegrams: Premier Ministre BAZIN, Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Faxes: + 509 34 1980, + 509 23 2121
2) Military Commander of the Centre Department:
Monsieur le Capitaine Josel CHARLES Salutation: Monsieur le Capitaine /
Commandant de l'Unité Tactique Dear Captain
Département Militaire du Centre
Hinche
Département du Centre, Haiti
Telegrams: Commandant, Département Centre, Hinche, Haiti
3) Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces:
Monsieur le Général Raoul CEDRAS Salutation: Monsieur le Général /
Commandant-en-Chef des Dear General
Forces Armées d'Haïti
Grand Quartier Général des Forces Armées d'Haïti
Rue Geffrard
Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Telegrams: Comandant-en-Chef des Armees d'Haiti Cedras, Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Telephone: + 509 22 3935
Telexes: 20391 gqfadh
Faxes: + 509 23 9007, + 509 23 9407
4) Minister of the Interior and Defence:
M. le Général Carl Michel NICOLAS Salutation: Monsieur le Ministre /
Ministre de l'Intérieur et Dear Minister
de la Défense Nationale
Palais des Ministères
Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Telegrams: Ministre de l'Interieur NICOLAS, Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Telephone: + 509 22 9198, + 509 22 1090
Telexes: 20515 Dptindn
COPIES TO
Chief of National Police:
Monsieur le Lt.Colonel
Michel FRANÇOIS
Chef de la Police Nationale
Grand Quartier Général de la Police
Port-au-Prince, Haiti
and to diplomatic representatives of Haiti accredited to your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat, or your
section office, if sending appeals after 26 April 1993.

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