Masked “police” arrest journalists investigating arbitrary arrests and killings in Haiti

In-depth Report:

Journalists Kevin Pina and Jean Ristil have just been arrested in Haiti while investigating crimes against Father Jean Juste’s church. All details follow. I’m urging everyone to send a letter as requested below as soon as possible. I make a special appeal to friends from Venezuela and Brazil to forward on this message, and make as many voices from Latin America heard as possible. I know Kevin Pina quite well, have interviewed him often and met him personally. He is an extremely courageous and professional journalist committed to democracy and the Haitian people’s just struggle for self-determination. His outstanding new film on Haiti is just being released, and no doubt this further attack on him in Haiti is an effort to end his witness to events in this long-suffering but heroic nation. Please do what you can as soon as you can.

Charles Boylan, Coop Radio, Vancouver

Masked Haitian police took Kevin Pina and Jean Ristil away today.

Demand immediate release of Kevin Pina and Jean Ristil

Around 5:15 this afternoon the Haitian Lawyers Leadership received a call from Haiti telling us that Haitian police, from the Delma police station, in a car marked with licensed plate # 0879, had entered Father Jean Juste’s presbytery, and was searching it, “destroying the place and generally creating trauma” to the people who were at the church at the time of the police invasion. Apparently, the men had black masks on and were accompanied by an investigative judge to give the exercise a semblance of legality.

The people from the Church and in the area of the Church, fearing the police would plant some evidence against Father Jean Juste to justify his continued imprisonment, alerted us and as many journalists as they could reach.

A half-hour later, we got a call that Kevin Pina and Haitian journalist Jean Ristil where inside the presbytery, asking questions and recording event as they were unfolding. We listened to a recording made by a journalist inside the presbytery and beamed out for broadcast to Haitian radio in the Diaspora as the search and rampage was taking place and learned, practically as it was happening, that the Haitian police had put Kevin Pina under arrest. There were other journalist there but Kevin Pina was placed under arrest. We don’t know the charges.

Later, we learned that after their rampage through the church, both Kevin Pina and Haitian journalist Jean Ristil were put in the police car, both under arrest, taken away by the Haitian police.

Please sound the alarm. We all know that UN soldiers arrested Father Jean Juste. We know that the Haitian police are under the supervision of the UN soldiers in Haiti. More importantly, we know that the grassroots in Haiti, with their leadership dead, in prison or in exile, have declared the people of Haiti, of Site Soley, Bel Air, Cap Haitien, St. Marc, and throughout Haiti, will only go to these sham elections if the killings and arbitrary arrests stop, the political prisoners released, Latortue government resigns and the people in exile return. Obviously, the Coup D’etat contingent can’t allow Father Jean Juste out of prison, and certainly the UN have shown how cheap Black Haitian life is.

Frankly, it’s a fool’s call to go to the UN for help to release Kevin Pina and Jean Ristil or any of the political prisoners being held by the government the UN helped to bring to power, supports and helps to carry out its repressions, killings and arbitrary arrests. There’s enough evidence and U.N. history in Haiti, since the Coup D’etat, that underlines the U.N. are indeed complicit in the arrests and mayhem in Haiti. (See, the Harvard Report, Small Arms report, Miami Law Center Report, Amnesty International Reports) however, what’s the choice? UN talking heads, like Juan Valdes and Kofi-(n) Annan, say publicly they are in Haiti to bring peace and security. Let them know we know that they know the only way to bring more peace and security to Haiti is to stop the killings, to stop all arbitrary arrests including the current arrests of white American journalist, Kevin Pina and Haitian journalist Jean Ristil, to release the political prisoners including Father Gerard Jean Juste, to facilitate the departure of the Latortue government and the return of the Haitians in exile – those would be concrete and positive UN actions in accordance with international laws of justice, the UN charter, OAS Charter, the Haitian Constitution and the Geneva Convention, all of which acknowledges a nations right to sovereignty, self-reliance, dignity and self-determination.

Call, fax and write MINUSTHA in Haiti and the UN headquarters in NY and in Geneva. Remind them of their legal duties as a world body for peace, justice and human rights. Remind them of the people of Haiti’s 5-points: the only real foundation for the restoration of peace and security to Haiti.

Sound the alarm to stop the arrest, torture or even murder of journalists Kevin Pina and Jean Ristil by this UN/US death regime brought to Haiti.

Contact information is below and on our website at

Marguerite Laurent, Esq. Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network September 9, 2005

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