ON THE SITUATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS
The Case of Messrs. Eddy Moise, Sénêque Jean Louis
and Kador Dérésil (Case No. 10.022)
125. In November
1987, the Nouvelliste, one of Port-au-Prince's daily newspapers, reported
that Messrs. Eddy Moise, Sénêque Jean Louis and Kador Dérésil had begun a
hunger strike on November 6, 1987 to protest the fact that they had been held in
preventive detention for nine months. These
three individuals were arrested February 6, 1987 in Gonaives (152 Km N.W. of
Port-au-Prince) by the police who accused them of having participated some hours
earlier in an armed robbery and murder of a police lieutenant, Ajax Raymond, in
126. In late July
1987, Mr. Gérard Georges, the lawyer of the Auguste brothers, took up the case
of these three individuals. Mr.
Georges, in November 1987, by letter addressed to Mr. François St. Fleur, the
then Haitian Minister of Justice, requested that Minister St. Fleur intervene in
this matter to assure that his clients would be given a fair trial. In addition, he stated that his clients had been severely
beaten and that, as a result, Mr. Moise suffered from a puncture eardrum.
127. On November
10, 1987, Messrs. Moise, Dérésil and Jean-Louis ended their hunger strike in
the National Penitentiary having received assurances from the Minister of
Justice that they would be tried during the next session of the Criminal Court.
On July 18, 1988 the trial began.
128. According to
information presented to the Commission, during its August 1988 on-site visit,
the lawyers for Mr. Eddy Moise and the other two defendants were not permitted
to represent the accused. Mr. Jean
Claude Nord was threatened by means of the use of force to vacate the courtroom.
Three court-appointed lawyers (whom the defendants did not want) were
assigned to represent them. No
witnesses were called for the defense in spite of the fact that the accused
claim that the summoning of certain witnesses such as Sgt. Damus could have
exculpated them. The trial lasted
for 12 hours, from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. While
in detention in Recherches Criminelles the accused had been forced to write
confessions, while handcuffed, that were dictated to them by the authorities.
Ms. Jossette Namphy, a cousin of Lt. Gen. Henri Namphy, was the only
witness for the prosecution. The
defendants had been charged with murder and armed robbery.
Mr. Namphy did not file charges until after the defendants had been
arrested. They were sentenced to
three years in prison based on the confessions which had been obtained
illegally. The defendants
"benefited" from the Loi Lepinasse, pursuant to which their
sentence was reduced by the amount of time (in this case one and a half years)
that the accused had served in preventive detention.
As the cases of the Auguste brothers and Eddy Moise, Dérésil and
Jean-Louis illustrate, conditions of detention are the most severe in the
irregular detention centers such as Recherches Criminelles.
The Commission has received information of massive killings in these
centers which it has been unable to verify.
According to one eyewitness report, allegedly at the time of the November
28-29, 1987 elections, some 46-50 young people believed to have been part of the
vigilance brigades, were rounded up and executed in Fort Dimanche by uniformed
and plainclothes members of the military.
130. According to
information received by the Commission there is a systematic policy on the part
of the military of extrajudicial executions which are termed "direct
flights". The military
reportedly integrates the death squads in carrying out these executions.
In spite of the fact that this information was presented to the
Commission, it was not possible for the Commission to verify it. The Commission has received information that the following
persons have died in Recherches Criminelles during the months April-May, 1988;
July 1988 and August 1988:
Rape and Torture
131. During the
Commission's visit to Recherches Criminelles in August 1988 it requested that
Col. Baguidy provide the Commission with the registry (cahier) of the
names of persons who had been detained in order to verify whether these
individuals had in fact been in detention or not at Recherches Criminelles.
Col. Baguidy refused to make the registry available to the Commission
leaving the Commission no other alternative but to presume these allegations of
36 deaths in detention since April 1988 to be true.
The Layout of Recherches Criminelles
132. Mr. Daniel
Narcisse, who was the coordinator of the group of political organizations known
as the Liaison of Democratic Forces, an organization which was part of the Group
of 57, was briefly detained in Recherches Criminelles, having been arrested
without a warrant, before he was summarily expelled from Haiti on October 10,
1987. Mr. Narcisse, now in exile,
has provided a physical description of the detention center at Recherches
Criminelles which he drew, as follows:
According to Mr. Narcisse's testimony:
The interrogation rooms are on the first floor.
The detainees are on the ground floor.
You go into the main room. On
the left and the right, two corridors lead into that room.
Down the left-hand corridor, on the left, there is a room serving as a
shower and toilet; on the right, an (unlocked) cell called the "drug
cell". Down the right-hand
corridor, there are three cells: two
large (one for men, one for women) on either side of a third cell (the small one
I was in). Only the small cell is padlocked. It is used as a punishment cell.
The windows looking out on the back (onto Mgr. Guilloux Street) are
barred. There is also a barred
opening above the doors.
A single meal is served (badly cooked cornmeal) at around 5 p.m.
The three large cells (drugs, men, women), as well as the main room, are
full of prisoners. The 'privileged' stay in the main room. Their privilege is due to bribes given to the guards.
As the cells are open, there is continual promiscuity and
coming-and-going. The men and the
women are able to mix.
There were 104 people in there. In
45 days (between the end of August and 10 October) 43 people died of
dehydration, diarrhea, malnutrition, beatings and injuries.
133. In a recent
testimony by Edouard Desgrottes, 36 years of age, who spent two weeks during the
month of April 1988 detained in Recherches Criminelles and 7 days thereafter
detained in the National Penitentiary, before being placed on an American
Airlines plane bound for new York, he testified that there were three cells for
men at Recherches Criminelles.37
Cell No. 1 in which he was detained held 26 men and was 12 feet
long and six feet wide. Cell No. 2 had 38 persons and cell No. 3 had 46.
The women's cell held 5 persons, including an old woman who was accused
of having "eaten" a child.
Commission visited the detention cells at Recherches Criminelles which
correspond with the physical description provided by Mr. Narcisse.
The Commission found five persons in detention in Recherches Criminelles:
three women and two men sharing the same room and open bathroom
facilities. The conditions at
Recherches Criminelles were the most alarming that the Commission was able to
see. The Commission had received
reports of underground cells at Ft. Dimanche and Recherches Criminelles, but the
existence of such cells was denied by the authorities and the Commission was not
able to verify their existence. The
five prisoners at Recherches Criminelles were detained for a variety of petty
crimes (theft, having been turned in by an employer, possession of drugs and the
like) and the prisoners looked like they were terrified by the presence of the
Commission. The delegation inspected a number of cells which were empty
on the occasion of its visit but the stench in the cells convinced it that they
had not been empty for very long. It
is evident that Recherches Criminelles continues to be used as an irregular
detention center where detainees are held incommunicado, for sustained periods
of time, where they have no access to legal counsel and where they are subject
to interrogation and beatings by the police authorities, which in many cases
have resulted in death.
Arbitrary arrests prior and following the January 17, 1988 elections
Commission has received information that hundreds of persons were arrested by
the Armed Forces throughout Haiti in the days directly prior to and following
the January 17, 1988 elections. It
was reported that the individuals arrested were church and community leaders who
were accused of urging people to boycott the elections.
The names of some of the persons who were arrested and information about
their cases presented to the Commission is as follows:
Providence Pierre, Delano Exile, Telemaque Altidor, Ertide Lovisdor and
Edouane Salina are all development workers and members of the "Ti-legliz
(Catholic community groups), who were arrested in Hinche on January 13, 1988 by
members of the Army.
Rodriguez Raphael, Irama Delimas, Wilson Exile, Julien Jean-Louis are the
names of development workers and members of the Mouvement Pàysan de Papaye (MPP)
who were arrested in Papaye. Several
days later they were brought before the Tribunal Civil in Hinche along
with others whose names have not been communicated to the Commission.
28 people were later released, but others are believed to continue in
Denis Pierre, Vigar Jacques, Leres Metellus, Solange Jean, Arnoux Joseph,
Dunaud Dubreus were all arrested in the Hinche area.
Madsen Abadi was arrested in Thomonde on January 19, 1988 and believed to
have been detained in the local army barracks.
Jean-Philippe Marcel was arrested in Gros-Morne on January 9 and
transferred to the military garrison in Gonaives.
At least 25 people were reportedly arrested in Cayes-Jacmel, including 3
staff members of the Planned Parenthood Federation.
Many young people were arrested in Jeremie which is reported to be under
virtual military occupation, and also in Petite-Rivière de l'Artibonite.
Many peasants in the Jean Rabel area in the northeast of the country are
also said to have been arrested.
Joseph Pierre was arrested by soldiers in the St. François area of
Gonaives on January 9, 1988. He is
believed to be a member of the "Front Uni des Gonaives".
The army, on several occasions in the past few months has raided the
shanty towns looking for leaders of this group. In September 1987, his home and those of Jean Tatoune and
Flauvel Stevil were reported to have been set on fire by soldiers who claimed
that they were searching for drugs in the area.
Due to the difficulty of fact-finding in Haiti and the secrecy
surrounding detention, it is difficult to obtain follow-up information on these
cases of detention in rural areas outside of Port-au-Prince.
There are exceptions, however, such as the case of Madsen Abadi, who was
arrested in Thomonde on January 19, 1988, without a warrant and taken to the
local army barracks. The Commission learned that he was released a few days later.
He told journalists that he had been accused of promoting a boycott of
the January 17, 1988 elections, and that as punishment, while in detention he
was tied by the hands and feet in the position known in Haiti as djake
(parrot's perch) and beaten 50 times with a stick.
Death while in detention in rural detention centers is even more
difficult to confirm. The
Commission has received reports that detainees have died in these detention
centers as in Port-au-Prince, as a result of beatings or starvation.
The commission has also learned that a prisoner can usually pay his way
out of prison if he has a sufficient amount of money to give to the guard.
The Commission has received information that a detainee, Mr. Lucete
Fanfan, aged 50, died on or about February 5, 1988, while in police custody at
Pointe-a-Raquette on the Island of La Gonave.
The authorities have reportedly said that he died as a result of an
epileptic fit or cardiac arrest; however, his family has said that he has no
history of either illness.
During its on-site visit in August 1988 the Commission visited the
detention center in Hinche. It confirmed that the following persons were in detention:
Mme. Odilon Marcelus
Rinel St. Ilmond
Nelson Pt. Homme
Luckner Jn. Baptiste
Olaris St. Hilaire
Mitro St. Hilaire
Emanès St. Louis
Commission also received the following list of names from a human rights
organization of persons who had been arrested in Hinche:
Edwan Saint Ima
Commission is concerned that the official list does not include the names of
persons on the second list. Both
lists are dated August 31, 1988. It
again publishes both lists with the intention of stimulating follow-up
monitoring by the local human rights organizations and to encourage the
government to make public its registries of detainees which it is obliged to
maintain on a systematic and daily, updated basis.
Harassment of Opponents to the Government
143. In spite of
the existing legal restrictions placed on the Armed Forces as regards carrying
out an arrest, many homes and businesses are ransacked by members of the
military or the police and information seized without the operation leading to
144. For example,
the Commission received a complaint that on February 4, 1987, a dozen soldiers
attacked the home of Professor Victor Benoit, the Executive Director of the
Institute of Democratic Education, an organization that conducts human rights
monitoring. The soldiers ransacked
the house and terrorized his family warning them that Mr. Benoit and his wife
should cease their human rights activities.
After the attack on Professor Benoit's home the same troops attacked the
office of Mr. Robert Duval, the President of the League of Former Political
searches have continued and the authorities proceed to harass political
opponents of the Government. The
perpetrators of these searches, being members of the military or protected by
the military, are, as in the case of the death-squad type killings, immune from
any investigation or punishment.
recently, the commission received a complaint to the effect that on March 25,
1988 at 1:20 p.m., armed civilians and military officials broke into a pharmacy
located on the Champs de Mars, in downtown Port-au-Prince.
Information made available to the Commission indicates that seven
civilians, armed with machineguns, under the orders of a lieutenant in a blue
police uniform, and accompanied by two civilians who identified themselves as a
justice of the peace and a court clerk announced that they were carrying out a
search for arms.
lieutenant carried a grenade which he held in his hand during the entire
operation. At the entrance of the
pharmacy two other civilians were posted carrying machineguns.
When asked whether they had a warrant to carry out the search they
replied that they had tried to obtain a warrant from the Commissaire du
Governement, but that this official was "too busy" and had not
been able to procure one for them.
officers, under the orders of the Chief of Police, proceeded to carry out a
search of the premises in front of the frightened clients and indignant owners.
149. The owners,
Mr. Yves and Ms. Gladys Lauture, charged that the search violated Article 43 of
the 1987 Haitian Constitution, because even the private areas of the pharmacy
premises were searched and such searches are prohibited unless carried out
pursuant to law.
150. Ms. Gladys
Lauture is an active member of the Committee for the Respect of the Constitution
and a member of a number of church and community organizations.
It is well known that these organizations have severely criticized the
electoral massacre of November 29, 1987. It
is also well known that they profess non-violence and reject the use of force to
resolve political and social conflicts.
151. On March 28,
1988, the leaders of the National Committee of the Congress of Democratic
Movements (KONAKOM), held a news conference to commemorate the first anniversary
of the 1987 Constitution. The
leaders stated that they had noted more than 20 violations of the Constitution
and that the Haitian people must remobilize in order to make the Government
respect the Constitution.
152. They noted
that a climate of fear is reigning in Haiti because of the searches of people's
houses being frequently conducted. The
KONAKOM leaders said they felt the current searches were illegal, and violative
of the Constitution, even though a justice of the peace accompanied the members
of the military while they carried out the searches.
In terms of the political situation, they noted, these searches portended
a frightening future because this is how François Duvalier had begun.
153. the Lawyers
Committee for Human Rights, which has its headquarters in New York, presented to
the Commission the following four testimonies regarding conditions of detention
of former detainees. These
complaints were received during an on-site visit conducted by Mr. William
O'Neill and Mr. Elliot Schrage, two lawyers representing the lawyers Committee,
who visited Haiti in late April-early May 1988.
The Commission also met with Messrs. Bastiani and Robuste during its
August 1988 visit.
Case of Mr. O'Daniel P. Bastiani
154. The case of
Mr. Bastiani was opened by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on June
1, 1988 and is registered as Case No. 10.204.
Mr. Bastiani is about fifty years old and a member of Rev. Sylvio
Claude's party who alleged that he had been arrested because he has been very
active in this party. After his
arrest by Sergeant Gabriel and Corporal Henri, he said he was beaten on the head
with clubs for about fifteen minutes and that this treatment continued for two
or three days. Mr. Bastiani stated
that he still has trouble swallowing and hearing.
He remained in prison from April 14 to April 22, 1988 in a 25 feet by 15
feet cell with 27 other inmates. There
were no toilet facilities and all had to share a small bucket in the corner of
the crowded cell. The prison
provided no food other than a little bit of gruel and although families were
allowed to deliver food to the prison they were not allowed to visit the
prisoners. During his entire stay,
Mr. Bastiani had no contact with a lawyer and no medical care was provided while
he was in prison, in spite of the fact that prisoners were beaten and injured.
When he was released the local judge refused to intervene or get involved
in the case at all. Mr. Bastiani informed the Commission that his hands and feet
are still swollen and that someone told him that since ha had told his story on Radio
Lumière and had named names, the soldiers were upset and they said they
"would get him".
Case of Mr. Murat
155. Mr. Murat
said that he is a member of Sylvio Claude's party and was arrested on February
18 by Cherinot Georges without a written warrant.
The official reason given for his arrest was that he had allegedly set up
an office for Rev. Sylvio Claude in the neighborhood, a fact that Mr. Murat
denies. While at the National
Penitentiary he said he did have a bed but he had to pay five dollars a month to
the authorities. In his section
there were 150 prisoners where some 30 or 40 slept on beds and the rest slept on
the floor on thin mats. The food
was very bad, the toilets were filthy, and the inmates were not allowed to use
them at night; prisoners who knew their rights and asked that they be enforced
were beaten. Mr. Murat was allowed
to see visitors three times a week but during his entire stay at the prison he
was never visited by a doctor or lawyer.
Case of Mr. Laurentes Robuste
156. On March 18,
1988, Mr. Laurentes Robuste was illegally arrested and detained after being
accused by his boss Mr. Stanley S. Bazin, of stealing his watch.
Two detectives in civilian clothing, one of whom is named "Ti Fre"
came to the house and took Mr. Robuste in a car to Recherches Criminelles
with an arrest order that was issued by the Army and not by a judge or
commissaire. Mr. Robuste was kept
in a cell which measured 8 feet by 10 feet together with 52 other inmates.
There was not even a bucket for a toilet and each morning the floor had
to be cleaned. Mr. Robuste was fed
once a day on rice and ground corn which was put into his hand and if a prisoner
attempted to get another handful he would be hit 15 times.
During his imprisonment, Mr. Robuste never saw a lawyer and on March 21,
1988 after being handcuffed, he was taken to appear before army officers.
Without any warning someone from behind began hitting him on both sides
of his head simultaneously with the palms of his hands.
Mr. Robuste said he was then put in the "djake" position and
was hit more than one hundred times with a bat over his head, stomach, legs,
arms and back. He said that blood
started to come out of his ears, nose and mouth.
Following this beating he remained in Recherches Criminelles for
26 days. At that point, Mr. Stanley
Bazin found his watch and called Recherches to tell them to release Mr. Robuste.
Case of Mr. Laennec Hurbon
157. Since the coup
d'etat of June
20, 1988 the Commission has learned that the home of the Haitian
sociologist, Mr. Laennec Hurbon, was ransacked.
The four men who raided the house the night of July 3, 1988, were
equipped with walkie-talkies and dressed in black.
They stole documents and US$1.300 in cash.
Dr. Hurbon was researching the November 29, 1987 massacre and was active
in the human rights community.38
158. The 1987
Constitution prohibits the expulsion or forced exile of Haitian citizens, but
this prohibition has been circumvented by the Government in cases involving
political opponents who hold dual nationalities.
159. In order to
facilitate the repatriation of Haitians in the "diaspora" who had
adopted foreign nationalities at a time when the Duvalierist dynasty appeared
entrenched, the 1987 Constitution provides that returning exiles have two years,
from the date of the departure of Duvalier, within which to renounce their
foreign nationality and to regain their Haitian citizenship.
[ Table of Contents | Previous |
Edouard Desgrottes fait des confidence à H.O".
Haiti Observateur 6-13 mai 1988.
38. See, Le
Nouvelliste 5 July 1988.
39. Based on
various interviews with individuals following their release and departure from
"Les prisons sont-elles vraiment vides?"
Haïti-en-Marche, 6-12 July 1988.
Edouard Desgrottes fait des confidence à H.O".
Haiti Observateur 6-13 mai 1988.
38. See, Le
Nouvelliste 5 July 1988.
39. Based on
various interviews with individuals following their release and departure from
40. See, "Les prisons sont-elles vraiment vides?" Haïti-en-Marche, 6-12 July 1988.