Congresswoman Maxine Waters,


For Immediate Release (323) 757-8900

October 27, 2004, 5:00 p.m. C


Washington, D.C. — Today, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) sent a letter to Secretary of State Colin Powell, urging him to call for the release of political prisoners who are being unlawfully detained in Haiti, including Father Gerard Jean-Juste, Senator Yvon Feuillé, Deputy Rudy Hérivaux, Prime Minister Yvon Neptune, Interior Minister Jocelerme Privert and Anne Auguste. Thirty of the Congresswoman’s colleagues signed her letter. The text of the letter follows:

We are writing to express our deep concerns about the continuing pattern of human rights violations committed by the Interim Government of Haiti. We are especially concerned about the recent arrests of several community leaders who remain illegally detained in prison in violation of Haitian law.

On October 2, Haitian police forcibly entered Haiti’s Radio Caraibes and arrested two Senators, Yvon Feuillé and Gerard Gilles, and a former deputy from the Lavalas party, Rudy Hérivaux, who criticized the Interim Government during a radio program. When a lawyer arrived at the radio station to represent these individuals, he too was arrested. All four individuals were arrested without warrants. The lawyer and Senator Gilles were released three days later, but Senator Feuillé and Deputy Hérivaux remain in prison without charges, in violation of Haitian law.

On October 13, 2004, Haitian police arrested Father Gerard Jean-Juste, the pastor of Saint Claire Church in Haiti, while he was feeding impoverished children in his church. Father Jean-Juste is a widely-respected advocate for peace and justice in Haiti and the rights of Haitian immigrants in the United States. Like Senator Feuillé and Deputy Hérivaux, Father Jean-Juste was arrested without a warrant. He remains illegally detained in prison on bogus charges. Senator Yvon Feuillé, Deputy Rudy Hérivaux, and Father Gerard Jean-Juste join many Lavalas supporters and critics of the current government who already are in prison. Among the most prominent individuals imprisoned in Haiti today are former Prime Minister Yvon Neptune, who was arrested on June 27, 2004, former Interior Minister Jocelerme Privert, who was arrested on April 6, 2004, and the well-known Haitian singer and community activist Anne Auguste (So Anne), who was arrested on May 10, 2004. All of these individuals remain illegally detained in prison.

We urge you to call for the release of Senator Feuillé, Deputy Hérivaux, Father Jean-Juste, Prime Minister Neptune, Interior Minister Privert, Anne Auguste, and all political prisoners and imprisoned community leaders who have not been charged, or are not being lawfully detained, under Haitian law. Our government should be doing all that it can to ensure that the Interim Government of Haiti abides by the rule of law and respects the human rights of the Haitian people.


Maxine Waters

John Conyers

Barbara Lee

Jan Schakowsky

James Oberstar

Sam Farr

Barney Frank

Raul Grijalva

Donald Payne

Stephanie Tubbs Jones

Eddie Bernice Johnson

Lois Capps

Dennis Kucinich

Juanita Millender-McDonald

Edolphus Towns

Danny K. Davis

Chaka Fattah

Major Owens

Bobby L. Rush

Eni Faleomavaega

Maurice Hinchey

Sheila Jackson-Lee

Corrine Brown

Eleanor Holmes Norton

John Lewis

Joseph Hoeffel

Diane E. Watson

Artur Davis

Lynn Woolsey

Dennis Cardoza

James P. McGovern