The Radio Caraibes reporter, who was kidnapped and beaten on 16 July, has
decided to stop working as a journalist and has gone into hiding after
continued threats against him and his family.
17.07.2002 - Kidnapped journalist found
Radio Caraïbes journalist Israel Jacky Cantave was found alive in the Port-au-Prince suburb of Petite Place Cazeau on 16 July after being kidnapped by armed men the day before. With him was his cousin, who had been seized at the same time.
Both men, who had been beaten and were bound with duct tape and left partially clothed, were taken to a police station in nearby Delmas before going to hospital with minor injuries. Police reportedly arrested several people.
Cantave and his cousin said they had been followed and then stopped by two cars as they drove away from the radio station late at night. The car’s occupants then took them to a place they did not recognise and interrogated and beat them. Cantave said he thought they had not killed them "so as not to cause trouble for the government" in view of public opposition to the kidnapping.
Colleagues and friends of Cantave said threats he received before the kidnapping were connected to his investigations in the city’s two main slums, Cité Soleil and La Saline, a stronghold of drug-lords and armed gangs. Haitian Journalists’ Association president Guyler Delva told Reporters Without Borders that the kidnapping appeared to have been planned and that working as a journalist in Haiti was becoming more and more dangerous.
07.16.2002 - Radio journalist feared kidnapped
Reporters Without Borders today expressed great concern about the apparent kidnapping on 15 July of radio journalist Israel Jacky Cantave and called on the Haitian government to keep its promise to protect media workers.
"If this turns out to be a kidnapping, our fears about journalists once again being targets of violence will be tragically confirmed while the murders of two of them, Jean Dominique and Brignol Lindor, are still unpunished," said Reporters Without Border secretary-general Robert Ménard in a letter to Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
He called for an immediate enquiry into the disappearance of Cantave, who worked for Radio Caraïbes and had received threats in recent days. "We ask you to mount a serious police operation to track down and punish those responsible and to end the climate of impunity in Haiti," he said.
He deplored the government’s failure to protect threatened journalists, despite promises made by Aristide after a wave of attacks on them last December.
Cantave, joint news editor at the radio station, disappeared as he was driving home in the capital, Port-au-Prince, after broadcasting his late-evening Creole-language news programme, "Dernière occasion". He left the station with his cousin, who also disappeared. He had called his family to say he was coming home.
The car and his mobile phone were found abandoned early next morning in the lower Delmas section of the capital a few hundred yards from where he lived. The car showed signs of having been hit on the left side.
The other joint news editor at the radio station, Jean Elie Moléus, said Cantave had been getting anonymous phone threats for a week before he vanished. The station had earlier received threats at the time of the supposed coup attempt against Aristide’s government last 17 December, after which it went off the air for several days. Cantave had intended to take refuge abroad, like more than a dozen other threatened colleagues, but decided to stay for personal reasons.
The Organisation of American States (OAS) published a report on 2 July about the 17 December events in which it said "attacks, threats and acts of intimidation" against journalists "occurred with the tolerance of the government," adding that those responsible for them "continue to enjoy immunity from prosecution by the investigative and judicial institutions of Haiti." As a result, it said, "freedom of expression, the fundamental basis of democracy, has been seriously undermine."