2002.06.10 - Darwin Saint Julien and Allan Deshommes freed
Two Haitian journalists were freed on 8 June, the same day justice minister
officials told Haitian Journalists’ Association (AJH) president Guy Delva
that their release had been ordered. The AJH has called for the police who
reportedly beat up the journalists to be punished and for compensation to
be paid because the reporters were not given medical treatment. They had
been imprisoned since 27 May for "security reasons".
2002.05.31 - Two journalists imprisoned
Reporters Without Borders expressed its concern today at the illegal detention of two Haitian journalists who have been jailed since 27 May with serious injuries and without being charged. "The reasons for their arrest and current situation must be urgently clarified," said Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Robert Ménard in a letter to Haitian justice minister Jean-Baptiste Brown. He called for them to be freed at once or else immediately brought before a judge if they were going to be charged with an offence. He also urged that they be given necessary medical treatment.
The two reporters, Darwin Saint Julien, of the weekly paper Haïti Progrès, and Allan Deshommes, of Radio Atlantik, were seriously injured and then arrested by police on 27 May while covering a demonstration organised by the Batay Ouvriyè (Workers’ Struggle) group in the northern town of Saint Raphael. Armed men, apparently sent by a big local landowner, and local officials attacked the protesters, killing two people, while seven others, including the journalists, were arrested. The reporters were told they were being arrested "for their own protection." Despite their serious injuries, they were imprisoned and on 29 May, all seven were taken by helicopter to the capital, Port-au-Prince, and placed in the National Penitentiary. Neither the journalists nor the five other people have been charged with anything and are therefore being held illegally, beyond the two-day period in which charges have to be made. The National Penitentiary, notorious for ill-treatment of prisoners, is only meant for those who have been tried. The mayor of Saint Raphael, Adonija Sévère, claimed the demonstrators and the journalists were "terrorists."