U.S. immigration officials have arrested two Haitian torture suspects accused of attacking supporters of former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide during the military coup that sent Aristide into exile in 1991.
Vital Cesear, 51, and Jones Charles, 33, were arrested at their respective homes in Orlando by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents as part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s effort to round up international human rights violators seeking safey in the United States.
Both men are being detained at the Orange County Jail in Orlando pending removal from the United States. Their arrests stemmed from an ICE investigation in Miami, a press release stated.
Cesear, arrested Tuesday, was a member of FRAPH, a paramilitary group linked to numerous human rights violations in Haiti. He was allegedly involved in arresting more than 100 people, some of whom he severely beat, said Nina Pruneda, a spokeswoman for ICE.
”He also participated in and witnessed the killing of Aristide supporters by members of his group,” Pruneda said.
Charles, arrested Thursday, served in an anti-gang unit and as a corporal under military junta leader General Raoul Cedras. Pruneda said Charles’ duties including serving as a guard and driving around soldiers who arrested Lavalas Family Party supporters during demonstrations.
So far, ICE agents in Miami have arrested about 61 human rights violators from around the world, including Haiti.
Several of the accused Haitian human rights violators, however, are currently walking the streets of Haiti as free men after rebels involved in that country’s recent uprisings broke open the jail and liberated the prisoners.
Bernard Gousse, Haiti’s Minister of Justice, told The Herald Tuesday that the two Haitian torture suspects will be dealt with according to Haitian law, once they are returned to the Caribbean nation.
”We will apply the law to whomever it is,” said Gousse.
Pruneda would not say when the two men will be deported back to Haiti.
”We are working with the Haitian consulate to secure the documents and to remove these individuals,” she said.