Haiti Action dismisses charges against President Aristide

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UPDATED 24/08/14

Jean-Bertrand Aristide

On August 12th, the Haitian government through magistrate Lamarre Belizaire issued a summons to President Aristide requesting his appearance at court. According to Aristide’s lawyer, Mario Joseph, the summons was never received and therefore Aristide did not attend the court. Joseph himself only managed to attend the court after hearing about the summons on the radio, however the judge who issued the summons was not present. Despite the judge’s absence, an arrest warrant was issued to President Aristide showing clearly that this latest summons and arrest was planned in advance otherwise why would the judge be absent but still manage to issue an arrest warrant?

This last point is important because he is not the original judge assigned to the case. The original judge had done nothing because there was nothing to pursue. However Belizaire took over the case without it being handed over to him and then proceeded with the summons and later the arrest warrant.

The charges against the former president which center around corruption, money laundering and drug related, are part of an on going politically motivated harassment against him.  To put into context this latest summons and arrest warrant which is far more threatening that the previous one in May 2013, US journalist Kevin Pina spoke with Pierre Labossiere of the Haiti Action Committee and an updated interview with Pierre on Thursday 14th August [35.36]  August 21st interview with Attorney for Aristide,  Ira Kurzban
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Supporters demonstate against the threatened arrest of Aristide

UPDATED 24/08/14

On Tuesday 12th, magistrate Lamarre Belizaire  issued a summons to President Aristide requesting his appearance at court.  According to Aristide’s lawyer, Mario Joseph, the summons was never received and therefore Aristide did not attend the court.  Joseph himself only managed to attend the court after hearing about the summons on the radio, however the judge who issued the summons was not present. Despite the judge’s absence, an arrest warrant was issued to President Aristide showing clearing that this latest summons and arrest was planned in advance otherwise why would the judge be absent but still manage to issue an arrest warrant?

This last point is important because he is not the original judge assigned to the case.  The original judge had done nothing because there was nothing to pursue.  However Belizaire took over the case without it being handed over and proceeded to summons then issue an arrest warrant.

The charges against the former president which center around corruption,  money laundering and drug related,  are part of an on going politically motivated harassment against him.

Furthermore, the judge himself has been charged with judicial misconduct and been disbarred. Once he steps down as judge appointed by Michel Martelly he will not be able to practice law for 10 years.  He has been responsible for carrying out Martelly’s dirty work, harassing and repressing those who have opposed Martelly’s government.

Following the announcement hundreds of Aristide supporters gathered outside his home in Tabarre to protect him against a potential arrest.    Supporters barricaded the road with burning tyres which was followed by clashes with the UN forces, MINUSTAH and the Haitian National Police.   Since then supporters have maintained a 24 hour vigil outside Aristide’s house.  The popular masses see this new attack against Aristide

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Photos and video by members of Association des Journalistes Haitien Freelance tête ensemble –   Serge Supre and Mackendy Perrin

 

Association des Journalistes Haitien Freelance Tête Ensemble

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Association des Journalistes Haitien Freelance Tête Ensemble is a collective of grassroots citizen journalists based in Camps Acra and Adoquin,  home to 30,000.  Survivors of the January 12, 2010 earthquake began arriving at the camp area almost immediately after the earthquake. At that time it was just an empty piece of scrub land.  It is now 4 and half years and residents remain.   

In February 2014 members of CHAL and Chanjem Leson came together and decided to create a collective of citizen journalists to report on the issues that affect our daily lives: housing, rehabilitation, employment, market traders / street vendors, police harassment, daily conditions in the camp as well as our own activism in the camp through CHAL and Chanjem Leson.   At Present there are 3 members, [Jean Wesley, Serge Supre, Perrin Makendy] although at the moment only two Serge Supre and Perrin Makendy have cameras phones and these are quite basic as can be seen from some of the photos. Occasionally they have been able to borrow a digital camera which has made a huge difference.

In order for the collective to improve their reporting and photographic skills, the group needs 6 digital point & shot or DSLR cameras plus training.  For more on how you can support the collective visit their Facebook page here

Donations can be made via PayPal

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Police evict camp residents in Caradeux

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In the early hours [2am] of Thursday 24th the Haitian Nationale Police [PNH] invaded Caradeux, a large camp near Tabarre in Port-au-Prince, with the intention of evicting all 3,000 familie.   They were accompanied by the UN occupying force, MINUSTAH who surrounded the camp with tanks,   The Organisation of International Migration [OIM] and Keke Belizaire, the man  responsible for program 16/6 were also present.   Program 16/6 was established by President Martelly in 2011 to forceably dismantle the  post earthquake camps by offering residents $500 to move. Much of 16/6 was funded by the Canadian government however apart from paying off residents to move the second part of 16/6, rebuilding 16 ‘slum’ neighbourhoods never happened.  Camp residents simply moved to other camps or to live with family or rent for a short period after which they have either become homeless once again or moved to other camps.

Again the question where is the money,[ $12 billion was promised]  is being asked.  No alternative accommodation or support has been given to thousands of camp residents evicted over the past 15 months.

Following the attempted evictions in the early hours of Thursday, camp residents organized a protest later in the day.  They were met with tear gas, batons and bullets, leaving many people injured and in distress.  It is not yet clear what role the IOM played in the eviction process but for sure they did nothing to help the residents.   CHAL members were present during the police raid giving support to residents, acting as witnesses to the eviction  and documenting resident’s stories.

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Photos by Serge Supre  and documentation by Perrin Mackendy both of CHAL  AND Association des Journaliste Free Lance Tête Ensemble

UPDATES TO FOLLOW

 

 

Mayor of Delmas destroys market in Gerald Bataille

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21/22 April 2014. Port-au-Prince. The mayor of Delmas, Wilson Jeudi’s troops, the Bricor [Brigade Controle des Rues] destroy street vendors and market place in Gerald Bataille. Many of the women vendors were beaten and at this time one woman was beaten so bad she is now in hospital.  Photos by Serge Supre  [Association des journaliste free lance tête ensemble]

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Association des journaliste free lance tête ensemble

Media/News/Publishing ·

A.M.G.B Association des Marchands de Gérald Bataille dans une protestation ce mardi 8 avril 2014 contre le maire de delmas et celle de tabarre dans une conférence de presse accorder aux journalistes tête ensemble

Report:camera Perrin Mackendy
Journaliste:St jean wesley
Redacteur: Serge Supre
Droit réservé aux journaliste de free lance tête ensemble

//

This Tuesday, April 8, 2014 A.M.G.B Association of merchants of Gerald battle in a protest against Mayor of delmas and tabarre in a press conference grant journalists head set Report: camera Perrin Bonnie journalist: St jean wesley Editor: Serge Supre Droit reserved to the journalist free lance head set (Translated by Bing)

Haiti: Collateral Alibis – NGO Watch 1

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By Sokari Ekine @blacklooks

Last year I was alerted to the website Turning World @Turning_world by some friends here in Haiti. The site is run by photojournalist Brad Workman who has an ongoing photo documentary project in Haiti. We took issue with the language, his profitmaking approach, and the fact that there is no acknowledgement let alone giving back to those whose lives he invades under the guise of social documentary. I wrote a post on this that asked the question: Photo Journalism or Poverty Porn?

In a similar vein, many of us are now questioning the website content of the Foundation for International Development Assistance – Productive Cooperatives Haiti (FIDA-PCH), a Canadian NGO operating in Haiti which purports to have set up a number of agricultural cooperatives and literacy projects in rural areas. Below are a set of photographs and text  defining what they, the colonial missionaries, imagine it means to be Haitian.

There are different ways to tell a story without invading peoples’ lives and assaulting their dignity. The photos chosen by Haiti’s Camp Acra residents on their blog should be a lesson on how Haitians see themselves – see here and here. In the 1805 Constitution written by the first President of the Black Republic, victorious revolutionary Jean-Jacques Dessalines (also called JanJak Desalin), declared that to be Haitian is to be Black (Article 14). In other words, being Haitian and being African are one and the same –inseparable. The Constitutions also states freedom of worship and no religion shall dominate.
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