Tag Archives: Haiti

Haiti ‘prison break’ birth 25 deaths.

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One of the prisoners who died was gang leader Arnel Joseph, who was gunned down on Friday at a police check 120 kilometers (75 miles) north of the prison.

More than 200 prisoners were on the run in Haiti on Friday, a day after they escaped from jail in a violent breakout that left 25 people dead including the prison director, officials said.

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About 400 inmates fled on Thursday, with AFP photographs showing at least three dead bodies lying outside the prison and some captured prisoners under armed guard in the back of a truck.

“Twenty-five people died including six prisoners and Divisional Inspector Paul Hector Joseph who was in charge of the prison,” Secretary of Communication Frantz Exantus said of the mass escape from the jail in the suburbs of capital Port-au-Prince.

“Among those killed were some ordinary citizens who were killed by the prisoners during their escape.”

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About 200 prisoners were still at large, but “the police are working hard to get them back. Some are in handcuffs, they will not be able to go far,” Exantus said.

One of the prisoners who died was gang leader Arnel Joseph, who was gunned down on Friday at a police check 120 kilometers (75 miles) north of the prison.

“Arnel Joseph was killed while attacking a police patrol which had stopped the motorcycle he was on. The police responded and Arnel Joseph is dead,” Exantus said.

Joseph, allegedly head of one of Haiti’s main criminal networks, was arrested in 2019 and had tried to escape from the prison last July after advertising his plan in a social media video a few days before the attempt.

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While serving a sentence for murder, Joseph had already escaped twice from another prison, in Port-au-Prince, in 2010 and 2017.

Inaugurated in 2012, the high-security Croix-des-Bouquets prison was built with funding from Canada and has a maximum capacity of 872 inmates, although nearly double that number were incarcerated there before the escape.

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Police teargas Haitian protesters.

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The United States had backed Moise’s stance, and he appears to have retained control of the Caribbean island nation.

Haitian police fired tear gas on hundreds of protesters who were marching against President Jovenel Moise in Port-au-Prince Wednesday, and attacked journalists covering the demonstration, in the latest clashes to mark the country’s political crisis.

The protesters accuse Moise of illegally extending his term in office.

He says it lasts until February 2022 — but the opposition argues it should have ended last weekend, in a standoff over disputed elections.

Police moved to violently clear the demonstration, and on several occasions were seen directly targeting clearly identified members of the press, including AFP journalists.

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“Their job is to shoot the activists, throwing gas on all the press,” said protester Senat Andre Dufot.

“We all noticed that they put a tear gas canister in the back of the pickup of the TV Pacific car,” he said, referring to a Haitian media outlet vehicle, while clutching a copy of the country’s constitution in his hand.

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In a statement, the Association of Haitian Journalists then called on the Haitian National Police authorities to “conduct an investigation to identify the perpetrators of these abuses so that they can be held accountable for their actions.

Officials loyal to Moise claimed Sunday they had foiled an attempt to murder him and overthrow the government in a coup. Police arrested 23 people, including Haitian Supreme Court judge Yvickel Dieujuste Dabresil, accusing them of an “attempted coup.”

And on Tuesday, Moise tried to force out three judges, including Dabresil, who were proposed as potential interim national leaders to replace him.

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Dabresil was released Wednesday from prison on the outskirts of the Haitian capital but remains under judicial supervision, according to his lawyers. However, human rights activist Marie-Yolene Gilles of the Je Klere Foundation later said the judge remained in prison.

“When there are opponents fighting, the best way to eliminate them was to accuse them of fomenting a coup,” another protester, Ebens Cadet, said Wednesday.

A police officer shoots tear gas toward a group of journalists gathered to cover a protest against the Haitian president, in Port-au-Prince, February 10, 2021. – Haitian police fired tear gas on hundreds of protesters who were marching against President Jovenel Moise in Port-au-Prince on February 10, and attacked journalists covering the demonstration, in the latest clashes to mark the country’s political crisis. The protesters were accusing Moise of illegally extending his term. He says it lasts until February 2022 — but the opposition argues it should have ended last weekend, in a standoff over disputed elections. (Photo by Valerie Baeriswyl / AFP)

The decree appeared to be contrary to the constitution and Haitian law.

The United States had backed Moise’s stance, and he appears to have retained control of the Caribbean island nation.

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But in a statement on Twitter posted Tuesday, the US embassy in Port-au-Prince said it was “deeply concerned about any actions that risk damaging Haiti’s democratic institutions.”

The dispute over when the president’s term ends stems from Moise’s original election. He was voted into office in a poll subsequently cancelled after allegations of fraud, and then elected again a year later, in 2016.

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Just in: Attempted coup hikes in Haiti – Report.

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After the latter disputed election, demonstrations demanding his resignation intensified in the summer of 2018.

Haitian authorities said Sunday they had foiled an attempt to murder President Jovenel Moise and overthrow the government, as a dispute rages over when his term ends.

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The plot was an “attempted coup d’etat,” according to Justice Minister Rockefeller Vincent, with authorities saying at least 23 people have been arrested, including a top judge and an official from the national police.

“I thank my head of security at the palace. The goal of these people was to make an attempt on my life,” Moise said.

“That plan was aborted,” he added, speaking on the tarmac at Port-au-Prince airport, accompanied by his wife and Prime Minister Joseph Jouthe.

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Jouthe said plotters had contacted police officials at the presidential palace who were planning to arrest Moise and then help install a “transition” president.

Leon Charles, the director of Haiti’s national police force, said officers had seized documents, cash and several weapons, including assault rifles, an Uzi submachine gun, pistols and machetes.

Jouthe added that among the documents was a speech from the judge who had planned on becoming an interim leader in a transition government.

But political opposition figures dismissed claims that a coup had been attempted.

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“You don’t carry out a coup with two pistols and three or four rifles,” lawyer Andre Michel told AFP.

He added that Moise could not claim to have suffered a coup attempt because his presidential term had expired.

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Moise has been governing without any checks on his power for the past year and says he remains president until February 7, 2022 — in an interpretation of the constitution rejected by the opposition, which has led protests asserting that his term ended Sunday.

Anti-government protests
The US on Friday accepted the president’s claim to power, with State Department spokesman Ned Price saying Washington has urged “free and fair legislative elections so that parliament may resume its rightful role.”

The dispute over when the president’s term ends stems from Moise’s original election: he was voted into office in a poll subsequently cancelled on grounds of fraud, and then elected again a year later, in 2016.

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After the latter disputed election, demonstrations demanding his resignation intensified in the summer of 2018.

Protesters clash with Haitian police on February 7, 2021 in Port-au-Prince , Haiti to demand the resignation of President Jovenel Moïse, who seeks to extend his term of office until February 2022, which according to the constitution ends this February 7. – Haitian authorities said Sunday they had foiled an attempt to murder President Jovenel Moise and overthrow the government, as a dispute rages over when his term ends. The plot was an “attempted coup d’etat,” according to justice minister Rockefeller Vincent, with authorities saying at least 23 people have been arrested, including a top judge and an official from the national police. (Photo by Valerie Baeriswyl / AFP)

Voting to elect deputies, senators, mayors and local officials should have been held in 2018, but the polls have been delayed, triggering the vacuum in which Moise says he is entitled to stay for another year.

In recent years, angry Haitians have demonstrated against what they call rampant government corruption and unchecked crime by gangs.

In a letter Friday to the United Nations mission in Haiti, several human rights and women’s advocacy groups faulted it for providing technical and logistical support for Moise’s plans to hold a constitutional reform referendum in April followed by presidential and legislative elections.

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“The United Nations must under no circumstances support President Jovenel Moise in his anti-democratic plans,” the letter stated.

Haiti’s capital Port-au-Prince on Sunday saw sparse demonstrations and sporadic clashes with police.

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