Father Gérard Jean-Juste, a Catholic priest who supports former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, was formally detained on 22 July after being taken into police custody the previous day at journalist Jacques Roche’s funeral, where he was insulted and physically attacked by people who accused him of being responsible for Roche’s murder.
Jean-Juste has denied any role in the death of Roche. William Quigley, a US lawyer who is acting for him, stressed that Jean-Juste was in Miami when Roche was killed.
Jean-Juste is one of the leaders of Aristide’s party, Fanmi Lavalas. Paul Raymond, another well-known Fanmi Lavalas activist, was extradited from the neighbouring Dominican Republic on 22 July for questioning by the Haitian police.
21.07.05 - Police arrest one of Jacques Roche’s suspected murders
Roger Etienne, one of the suspected kidnappers and killers of journalist Jacques Roche, was arrested on 19 July in Port-au-Prince. Investigative police director Michael Lucius said the suspect, aged about 20, had provided information about the different places Roche was held from the moment he was abducted until he was killed.
The arrest took place two days before Roche’s funeral in Port-au-Prince today, which Prime Minister Gérard Latortue’s government declared a day of national mourning.
15.07.05 - Dismay at murder of kidnapped journalist Jacques Roche
Reporters Without Borders voiced shock and outrage today at the "barbaric and heinous" murder of Jacques Roche, the editor of the daily Le Matin’s arts and culture section, whose handcuffed body was found in a chair on a Port-au-Prince street yesterday, four days after he was kidnapped. He had been shot several times and his body bore the signs of torture.
"The Haitian press has just lost a renowned journalist and Haiti has lost a leading advocate of its culture, and we call on the authorities to find and punish his murderers" the press freedom organisation said. "We also hope that with MINUSTAH’s help, they will succeed in curtailing the prevailing violence and anarchy, in which journalists inevitably number among the victims."
13.07.05 - Journalist falls victim to wave of kidnapping in Port-au-Prince
Reporters Without Borders voiced concern today about the kidnapping on 10 July of Jacques Roche, the editor of the daily newspaper Le Matin’s arts and culture section, who will be killed if a 250,000 dollar ransom is not paid, his abductors have threatened.
"The security situation in Haiti is deteriorating at an alarming rate and, while Roche’s abduction seems to have no direct link to the fact that he is a journalist, the press is one of the sectors most at risk in this climate of terror and violence," the press freedom organisation said.
"We hope the recent decision to increase the number of peacekeepers in the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) will succeed in containing the violence and that the Haitian government will play its required part," Reporters Without Borders said, adding, "we appeal to Roche’s kidnappers to release him immediately without conditions."
Roche, who also presents a TV programme, was kidnapped as he was driving in a car in the Nazon district of Port-au-Prince. When his kidnappers called the family to demand the 250,000 dollar ransom, Roche said he had been beaten.
Haiti has been in the grip of an unprecedented wave of violent crime since last September. The Associated Press news agency says more than 700 people, including 40 policemen, have been killed. Much of this violence is blamed on armed gangs linked to Fanmi Lavalas, the movement led by exiled former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who was deposed in February 2004.
Nancy Roc, the presenter of the weekly magazine programme Métropolis on Radio Métropole, was forced to flee the country on 16 June after been threatened with abduction. She recently told Reporters Without Borders there are now some six to ten kidnappings a day in Port-au-Prince. Radio Métropole director Richard Widmaier himself narrowly escaped a kidnapping attempt on 11 June.