Pere Gerard Jean-Juste (3)

Re: Pere Gerard Jean-Juste

To: Monsieur Gerard Latortue, Primier Ministre

From: Morris A. Chochla

Date: 2005-10-17

Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada (“LRWC”), a Committee of Canadian Lawyers providing support internationally to advocates whose rights, safety or independence are threatened as a result of their human rights’ advocacy, has written to you on two previous occasions with respect to the imprisonment and treatment of Pere Gerard Jean-Juste, Pastor of St. Claire’s Catholic Church in Port-au-Prince.

Pere Gerard Jean-Juste has been identified as a political prisoner and a prisoner of conscience.

We further understand that Pere Gerard Jean-Juste has yet to be charged with any crime.

It is clear that the arrest and detention of Pere Gerard Jean-Juste is a breach of the United Nations International Covenant on civil and political rights, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and other international and regional pacts and covenants ratified by Haiti. Haiti has agreed to abide by these documents and ensure that no one, including Pere Gerard Jean-Juste, is subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention and deprived of liberty except on such grounds and in accordance with such procedures as established by law. Haiti has agreed with the international community that every person has the right, individually or collectively, to promote the protection and fulfilment of human rights and fundamental liberties at the national and international levels.

The arbitrary arrest and detention without charge of Pere Gerard Jean-Juste is contrary to Haiti’s commitment to the international community.

LRWC repeats its call for the immediate and full investigation into the actions taken against Pere Gerard Jean-Juste and for the results obtained to be public and for those responsible to be brought to justice.

LRWC has also been advised that, on September 9, 2005, journalist Kevin Pina and Jean Ristil, were arrested and held without charge. The arrests of Pina and Ristil appear to be contrary to Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states that “everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through the media and regardless of frontiers.”.

LRWC calls for the immediate release of journalists Pina and Ristil and the investigation as to the circumstances surrounding their arrests with the results being made public and those responsible brought to justice.

Our previous letters have gone unanswered. We would request an immediate response to the concerns expressed in this, and our earlier letters.