Originally: Former Prime Minister Transferred the UN Military Hospital Base
NCHR-Haiti has been closely following the recent developments in the case of former Prime Minister Yvon Neptune, currently in detention under charges of his implication in the February 2004 killings in La Scierie (St. Marc). For a number of weeks now Neptune has been on a self-inflicted hunger strike.
NCHR is surprised to learn that during the night of 10 March 2005, with the complicity of the government, MUNISTAH troops accompanied by UN diplomats removed Mr. Neptune from his cell in the National Penitentiary and took him to a foreign military hospital base, citing the need for medical treatment. To NCHR’s knowledge and belief, the transfer was not based on a recommendation report from the chief medical officer of the National Penitentiary or authorized by an Examining Judge.
There appears to be a significant amount of political and diplomatic pressure on the interim government by the international community to force the release of Neptune who has yet to respond to the charges laid against him. Former Prime Minister Neptune is not above the law and thus should not be considered as such.
NCHR considers this recent action as nothing more than a slap in the face of the Haitian judiciary. Furthermore, it constitutes blatant hypocritical behavior on the part of the international community and the interim government who together have been spending a significant amount of funds to host conferences and seminars and to create commissions to encourage the independence of the judiciary. Such action as taken with Mr. Neptune completely contradicts such efforts.
Furthermore, the transfer of Mr. Neptune to a foreign military hospital base begs a few questions: are there no adequate and/or sufficient Haitian hospitals in which Mr. Neptune can receive the appropriate treatment? If it is for reasons of security that Mr. Neptune was taken to the UN base, if the government cannot ensure for and provide security for one individual, how does it plan to provide security for an entire nation heading into elections later on in the year?
NCHR believes that the government owes the Haitian people an explanation regarding this arbitrary decision. Equally concerned with Mr. Neptune’s deteriorating health, NCHR sincerely anticipates his transfer to a Haitian hospital where he may receive necessary treatment under the protection and supervision of the Haitian National Police, and furthermore that Mr. Neptune will be returned to his cell at the National Penitentiary once his health has improved.