Dominican Republic: was Haitian man lynched?

The body of a Haitian immigrant, Claude ("Tulile") Jean Harry, was found hanging from a tree in Ercilia Pepín Park in Santiago de los Cabelleros, the capital of the northern Dominican province of Santiago, on Feb. 11. Dominican police spokespeople say they are working on the theory that Jean Harry was killed to prevent him from testifying about the Feb. 9 murder of Altagracia Díaz Ventura. According to the police, Díaz Ventura was killed by her sister-in-law, Annery Núñez, who then stole the victim's money and furniture. Jean Harry did odd jobs in the area; he may have been paid to help move the furniture and could have found out about the murder. Annery Núñez had turned herself into the police as of Feb. 15.

Haitian immigrants and human rights organization questioned the police version, noting the increase in anti-Haitian sentiment following a September 2013 Constitutional Tribunal (TC) ruling that deprived thousands of Haitian-descended Dominicans of citizenship. "Nobody knows yet the reason behind the lynching, but it comes in the context of constant discrimination and violence against Haitians," the Robert F Kennedy Center for Human Rights' Santiago Canton said. Jean Harry was murdered just hours after a group of Dominicans publicly burned the Haitian flag in Santiago. As of Feb. 13 the authorities said they had arrested five members of the group. (The Guardian, UK Feb. 12, from correspondent; AlterPresse, Haiti, Feb. 13; El Nuevo Diario, Dominican Republic, Feb. 15)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, February 15.