Haiti: journalist’s killers sentenced

After a two-day trial, on Dec. 12 Haitian judge Emmanuel Tataye sentenced Jean Remy Demosthene and Joubert Saint Juste to life at hard labor for the Dec. 3, 2001 murder of journalist Brignol Lindor in the southwestern city of Petit-Goave. A third defendant, variously referred to as “Fritzner Doudoute,” “Fritznel Doudoute” and “Lyonel Doudoute,” was held over while his identity was being verified. A fourth defendant, Simon Cetoute, was acquitted; he apparently was arrested instead of his son, who is deceased. The judge has ordered six other defendants to turn themselves in.

Demosthene and Saint Juste were members of Domi Nan Bwa (“Sleep in the Woods”), an organization supporting then-president Jean-Bertrand Aristide. The group acknowledged hacking Lindor to death with machetes, but members claimed the killing was revenge for an earlier attack against them by Aristide opponents. Observers have questioned the failure to bring the other six defendants to trial and to interview several Petit-Goave officials of the time, including then-mayor Emmanuel Antoine and his deputies, Dumey Bony and Cimeres Boliere, who allegedly called for “zero tolerance” for Lindor at a press conference on Nov. 30, 2001. (Agence Haitienne de Presse, Dec. 12; AlterPresse, Dec. 13)

On Dec. 10, two days before the sentencing in the Lindor case, police superintendent Daniel Ulysse was arrested in Port-au-Prince in connection with the murder of another journalist, Radio Haiti Inter director Jean Dominique, who was killed, along with station caretaker Jean-Claude Louissaint, on Apr. 3, 2000. Ulysse was arrested when he unexpectedly went to the office of Fritzner Fils-Aime, the judge in charge of the Dominique murder investigation, who had issued an order for him to present himself for questioning. Ulysse is alleged to have obstructed the investigation. (Haiti Support Committee News Briefs, Dec. 12)

Reporter Joseph Guyler Delva, who heads the Independent Commission for Supporting Investigations into Murders of Journalists (CIAPEAJ), returned to Haiti on Nov. 25. He had fled the country on Nov. 9 after being followed while driving in his car. Delva said he returned because he had received “a formal promise” from President Rene Preval “to protect his safety.” Delva blamed Senator Rudolph Boulos for death threats he’d received; he also accused Boulos of holding office illegally because he is actually a US citizen. Delva said he suspected both Boulos and Ulysse of “blocking” the investigation into the Dominique murder. (Reporters Without Borders Canada news release, Nov. 27)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, Dec. 16

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