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