Wednesday, May 24, 2006

UN war crimes continue in Haiti.

Haiti Action Committee (via Chabert):

Displaying large banners from a high rooftop within the penitentiary compound, prisoners also shouted to journalists below that U.N. forces had killed ten protestors as they opened fire earlier in the morning. Haiti Information Project (HIP) correspondents were at the scene and Director Kevin Pina videotaped the UN action. The footage clearly shows MINUSTAH soldiers shooting at the demonstrators above on a secured catwalk inside the prison. Prisoners raised the corpses of two victims they claimed were shot by UN sharpshooters. While attempting to cover the story from the street below Pina was forcefully restrained by a contingent of Jordanian soldiers who claimed that it was too "dangerous" for anyone to enter the area.

How the prisoners got out of their cells remained unclear while some in the local Haitian press were claiming that a few guards were responsible. The breakout and protest came on the heels of the arrest of well-known Lavalas activist and community organizer Rene Civil. Civil had attempted to enter Haiti from the Dominican Republic the night before and was detained by U.N. forces and then turned over to the Haitian police. Rene Civil, along with Annette Auguste and Paul Raymond, are seen as the most popular community level leaders of Aristide's Lavalas movement among Haiti's poor. Auguste was arrested by U.S. Marines in May 2004 and Raymond was arrested last year in the Dominican Republic by police and a U.S. embassy security detachment. Auguste and Raymond have been held in prolonged detention without trial amid shifting allegations and charges. Their fates remain unclear to this day.


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