Originally: UA 223/03 Torture/Ill‑treatment/Medical concern
PUBLIC AI Index: AMR 36/006/2003
UA 223/03 Torture/Ill‑treatment/Medical concern 24 July 2003
HAITI Judith C Roi (f) ] Regroupement Patriotique pour le Renouveau National
Jeantel Joseph (m) ] (REPAREN), Patriotic Assembly for National Revival
Chavanne Joseph (m) ]
Adeler Reveau (m) ]
Amnesty International is concerned that four members of the Haitian opposition party, Regroupement Patriotique pour le Renouveau National (REPAREN), Patriotic Assembly for National Revival named above, were allegedly tortured following their arrest by the Haitian National Police (HNP) on 14 July. Judith Roi, the leader of REPAREN is now being held in the Prison Civile de Pétionville in the capital Port‑au‑Prince, whilst her three colleagues are in the police cells at Delmas police station.
The arrests followed a search by HNP officers of Judith Roi’s house on 8 May. A government spokesperson said that the search was carried out as part of investigations into a 7 May attack by unidentified gunmen on the Péligre hydroelectric dam. He claimed that police discovered a cache of weapons in Judith Roi’s house, as well as documents referring to plans for attacks on the National Palace and the private residence of Haitian President Jean Bertrand Aristide. Judith Roi denied the allegations and asserted that her organisation is committed to non‑violence.
Following their detention on 14 July, the four were reportedly beaten with iron bars and other objects by men in police uniform. Later that day, they were said to have been beaten again by men in civilian clothes, who at one point reportedly stomped on Judith as she lay face down in a cell. The four detainees were reportedly denied the right to contact or receive visits from family members or friends. Local representatives of two Haitian human rights organisations requested access to them, but were refused.
Human rights activists were eventually able to visit Judith Roi in Fort National prison on 21 July. During their visit she was apparently unable to move her left hand, was visibly in pain and was unable to move around easily. She was also said to have bruises on the side of her head and claimed that her hearing had been damaged as a result of being beaten. She also expressed concern for her colleagues, one of whom she said was vomiting blood as a result of being beaten and whom she suspected of having a broken rib.
Judith Roi was taken before a judge on 18 July, after 4 days in detention, though the charges that have been brought against her remain unclear. According to Haitian law, detainees must see a judge and have their legal status regularised within 48 hours of their arrest.
The three men, held in the Delmas Police station, have now been visited by representatives of human rights organisations, who confirmed that they have not received any medical attention. The representatives also reported that the wounds and bruises on the men’s bodies suggested that they had been beaten and tortured. The men have not yet appeared before a judge, nor have they been formally charged. Amnesty International remains concerned for their health.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to arrive as quickly as possible, in French or your own language:
‑ expressing concern for the alleged torture and ill‑treatment of Judith C Roi, Jeantel Joseph, Chavanne Joseph and Adeler Reveau whilst in custody and urging that the authorities immediately investigate such allegations;
‑ urging the prison authorities to ensure that all are given adequate medical treatment as soon as possible, and that they are not subjected to further torture or ill‑treatment;
‑ seeking further clarification of their legal status and information on the reasons for their detention;
‑ reminding the Haitian authorities that according to Haitian law, people must see a judge and have their legal status regularised within 48 hours of their arrest.
APPEALS TO: Please note that if you have difficulties in sending faxes, please use airmail
Minister of Justice and Public Security
Monsieur Calixte Delatour
Ministre de la Justice et de la Sécurité Publique
Ministère de la Justice
19 Avenue Charles Sumner
Fax: + 509 245 0474
Salutation: Monsieur le Ministre
Director General of the Haitian National Police
Madame Jocelyne Pierre
Directrice générale de la Police Nationale d’Haïti
Grand Quartier Généralde la Police
12 rue Oscar Pacot
Fax: + 509 245 7374
Salutation: Madame La Directrice
Director of Prison Administration
Clifford Hans Larose
Direction de l’administration Penitentiaire
3 Rue Fleming
Fax: +509 2224163
Salutation: Monsieur le Directeur
and to diplomatic representatives of Haiti accredited to your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat, or your section office, if sending appeals after 4 September 2003.