Lawyers for Mr. Andre ? Andy ? Apaid Jr., one of the leaders of the group of 184, went to the Public Prosecutor?s office as his representatives in compliance with a summons issued to Mr. Apaid requesting his presence at the prosecutor?s office for questioning in connection with the disturbances of July 12 in Cite Soleil. On that day, the group had planned to hold a meeting to inform the public of key popular demands collected in recent months throughout the country. The meeting could not be held as planned however. Pro-government mobs rioted in the streets near the meeting?s site, stoning the busloads of members and supporters of the group of 184, injuring several including Mr. Apaid. Reporters and international observers were not spared the wrath of the Pro-Aristide crowds. Police units on the scene did little to restore order or to prevent attacks against the citizen advocacy group. Instead of condemning the rioting, government spokesmen and supporters blamed Mr. Apaid and his group for provoking a violent incident in what some claim is a stronghold of government supporters.
Fearing arbitrary arrest and persecution, Mr. Apaid?s legal advisors recommended that he not personally appear at the rushed hearing, and that they would represent him instead. The Prosecutor, M. Kiquet Brutus, refused to discuss or provide a copy of the complaint that could have triggered prosecutorial action, in violation of legal norms. Instead, he threatened to have Mr. Apaid arrested promptly. Given that this hearing was scheduled on a Friday, had Mr. Apaid showed up and the Prosecutor ordered his arrest, he could have been held in police custody over the weekend, and suffered personal, psychological and physical humiliation at the hands of pro-government goons.
Despite the overt intimidation that this warrant portends, Mr. Apaid is committed to the rule of law and urges the government of Haiti to launch a full and independent investigation into the July 12 riots that occurred in Cite Soleil.