The Port-au-Prince appeals court refused on 27 March to consider cancelling
a lower court ruling that the family of murdered Haitian journalist Brignol
Lindor had failed to properly register as a civil party associated with the
prosecution of his killers.
The lawyer for Lindor’s father Belrosier and his brother Moréno said the
matter would be appealed to the supreme court. He said Haitian law did not
require a formal procedure for being a civil party when a case was brought
by a public prosecutor. The status should have been automatically granted
when the two men appeared before the judge investigating the case, Fritzner
Duclair, and called for justice to be done. If the supreme court also
rejected their request, he said, they could seek recognition as civil
parties when the trial started.
3 December 2001 - 3 December 2002 - Murder of journalist Brignol Lindor One year of impunity
A year after the killing of Brignol Lindor (see photo), a journalist with the Echo 2000 radio station in Petit-Goâve, Reporters Without Borders, the Damocles Network and the Haitian Journalists’ Association (AJH) deplore the fact that those responsible have not yet been punished.
The three organisations said they were determined to win justice for Lindor, who was beaten to death on 3 December last year by supporters of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s Fanmi Lavalas party.
The AJH and Pastor Denis Laguerre (representing the Lindor family), supported by Haiti’s Ecumenical Centre for Human Rights, formally protested on 1 and 3 October before the Port-au-Prince appeals court against the murder enquiry being officially closed, thus excluding any prosecution of the instigator of the attack.
Reporters Without Borders and the Damocles Network may file an appeal before the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights (IACHR).
"A year after Lindor’s death, impunity still reigns," said Reporters Without Border secretary-general Robert Ménard and AJH secretary-general Guyler C. Delva. "It has been turned into a policy aimed at fostering an atmosphere of terror and silencing the media." They said seven journalists were currently in hiding in Gonaives after being threatened by Amiot Métayer, a fugitive from justice protected by Aristide’s party who is terrorising the local population and the press."
Fritzner Duclair, the judge investigating Lindor’s death (see photo), officially closed his enquiry on 16 September. A fact-finding mission by Reporters Without Borders and the Damocles Network published earlier that month noted that the chief instigator of the murder, Petit-Goâve’s assistant mayor Dumay Bony, had not been troubled or charged.
Bony had called at a press conference on 30 November last year for "zero tolerance" to be applied to Lindor, who he called a "terrorist." His words were taken by everyone except Haitian legal officials as an appeal to kill the journalist. Many in Haiti consider the term "zero tolerance," first used by President Aristide a few months earlier to urge police to deal firmly with criminals, as virtual approval of lynching people.
The Haitian authorities told the Organisation of American States (OAS) in a report on 4 November this year that 10 people had been charged in the case, two of whom had been arrested. But Reporters Without Borders find that these two, Maxi Zéphyr and Fritzler Doudoute, are in fact being held for other reasons. Prison officials in Port-au-Prince, where Zéphyr is being held, have also refused for several months to allow him to be questioned in the Lindor murder case.
To mark the first anniversary of Lindor’s death, Reporters Without Borders and the AJH are broadcasting on Haitian radio stations a message from his family demanding justice (see photo). The text is as follows:
" [voice of Robert Ménard] : 3 December 2001 to 3 December 2002
[voice of Moréno Lindor] : My name is Moréno Lindor. I’m the brother of the journalist Brignol Lindor. I was at home the day I heard he had been chopped to death. I feared it was the end for my family. I was wrong. But we were threatened and had to flee the country. A year later, the killers can still count on the inertia of the authorities. The hardest thing is the injustice of it, that nobody has been punished. My brother was killed because he allowed everyone to speak on the radio. Haitians must be given their say and Brignol must be given justice.
[Ménard] In solidarity with the Haitian media, Reporters Without Borders and the AJH add their voices to those of all who demand justice, justice for Brignol Lindor. "
The Haitian Journalists’ Association, Reporters Without Borders and the Damocles Network demand:
That the Port-au-Prince appeals court cancels Judge Duclair’s closure of the enquiry and orders the case to be reopened.
That the next judge in charge of the case brings charges against Dumay Bony for "incitement to murder."
That the Port-au-Prince prison authorities allow Maxi Zéphyr to be questioned about his suspected part in Lindor’s killing.
The two organisations also reiterate their appeal to President Jean-Bertrand Aristide (see photo) to specifically condemn public lynchings and take action to end the impunity enjoyed by the killers and attackers of journalists.