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Jean Juste is Freed From Jail, See Video

Posted: Mon Jan 30, 2006 1:25 pm
by Michel Nau_
The Rev. Gérard Jean-Juste, a former Miami Haitian rights activist, is freed from a Haitian jail to receive medical treatment in South Florida -- but is required to return to Haiti to stand trial.
BY JACQUELINE CHARLES, PABLO BACHELET AND TRENTON DANIEL
jcharles@MiamiHerald.com

The Rev. Gérard Jean-Juste is finally free.Jailed for 192 days in his native Haiti, the influential Catholic priest and former Miami Haitian rights activist, walked into the arms of screaming supporters Sunday -- 51 minutes after his flight touched down at Miami International Airport.
''Free at last, free at last,'' supporters shouted as an ailing Jean-Juste, who has leukemia, walked out of passport control and into the waiting area at MIA's international arrivals terminal.

An hour later, Jean-Juste, 59, was admitted in
to Jackson Memorial Hospital where he will undergo treatment and tests. Haitian Prime Minister Gérard Latortue told The Miami Herald on Sunday that Haitian and American doctors had confirmed that Jean-Juste is suffering from leukemia.

A staunch supporter of ousted Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Jean-Juste is a harsh critic of Haiti's U.S.-backed interim government which he accused Sunday of being ''worse than'' the Duvalier family dictatorship. Francois ''Papa Doc'' and his son Jean-Claude ''Baby Doc'' Duvalier ruled Haiti for 29 years.

Jean-Juste's imprisonment had become an international headache for the Latortue administration, which until late last week had refused to give in to pressure by Haitian activists, human-rights advocates and others to free the priest. Jean-Juste, once viewed as a potential presidential candidate, became a cause célbre for Aristide's political allies, who continue to demand his reinstatement as head of state.



Jean-Juste's release is considered provisional. Under a deal, he is required to return to Haiti to stand trial on illegal weapons and criminal conspiracy charges, although by the time he returns there might be a new government, which could then decide to drop the charges.
His release comes just days before some 3.5 million registered Haitian voters are expected to head to the polls on Feb. 7 to choose a successor to formally replace Aristide, who fled Haiti in February 2004 in the face of an armed revolt.

Jean-Juste was arrested in July on suspicion of involvement in the abduction and slaying of a well-known Haitian journalist and plotting to assassinate Haitian police officers. The charges were dropped two weeks ago, but a Haitian judge indicted him on lesser charges of illegal weapons possession and criminal conspiracy.

Vowing to continue to fight the charges against him, Jean-Juste, looking thinner and with a swollen neck, to
ld The Miami Herald on Sunday that he hopes his freedom will prompt the release of other detained Aristide supporters, including former Haitian Prime Minister Yvon Neptune.
''I feel happy and grateful [but] I cannot forget the other political prisoners left behind,'' he said as his sister Yvette St. Hilaire, 58, and Haitian activists embraced him. ``It's a very tough situation for them. I hope my release is the opening of the freedom door.''

Under the deal, Jean-Juste was released to receive medical treatment but must return to Haiti to stand trial. The deal was negotiated late last week with the Haitian government by influential Republican Sen. Richard Lugar, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and the U.S. State Department.
In a letter, Lugar urged Latortue to release Jean-Juste on humanitarian grounds. The letter was personally delivered to Latortue in Haiti by Thomas Shannon, the assi
stant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere Affairs.
'
'As you know, Amnesty International designated Father Jean-Juste a prisoner of conscience, and several of my congressional colleagues in the U.S. House of Representatives have called for his release,'' Lugar, of Indiana, said in the Jan. 19 letter.
During a trip to Washington late last week, Latortue met with several top State Department officials to talk about Haiti's upcoming elections and Jean-Juste's rapidly deteriorating health.

On Sunday, Latortue called Lugar to inform him that Jean-Juste would be flown to Miami.
''The man is sick, and we do not have the necessary medical facilities in Haiti to treat him. We want to give him a chance to get proper medical care,'' Latortue told The Miami Herald, saying the government did not give into pressure. ``We do it freely on our own.

The president [Boniface Alexandre] and I believe humanitarian laws are above national laws and
we have to respect human rights. You cannot keep a man in jail without a chance to receive proper medical care.''

The State Department along with several U.S. lawmakers, including Lugar and U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek, D-Miami, issued statements welcoming Jean-Juste's release. Meek said he visited Jean-Juste for 20 minutes Sunday night.

On the ride to the hospital, Jean-Juste recalled the past six months, detailing how a woman saved his life when he was attacked by a mob just hours before his July arrest.
He also talked about how in all of his years of fighting against Haitian despots, he had never ``experienced such a worse government, a cruel government; worse than Duvalier.''

Still, Jean-Juste said he holds hope for Haiti as it approaches elections.
''Definitely, things will change for the better.

We have to get rid of these officials, de facto officials in power, that is the first thing,'' he said as the SUV in which he w
as traveling, pulled up to Jackson Memorial Hospital.

There, he was greeted by two doctors, including Paul Farmer, a prominent Harvard infectious disease specialist who confirmed that Jean-Juste has leukemia. Farmer, a Jean-Juste supporter and friend, examined him in jail on Dec. 23.
Farmer told The Miami Herald that Jean-Juste will undergo extensive tests and be treated for pneumonia, which he recently developed.
As word spread through Little Haiti that Jean-Juste was free, supporters cheered.
''That's great, that's great,'' said Bernard Frederic, 40, a music mixer at Notre Dame d'Haiti Catholic Church in Little Haiti. ``He helped a lot of Haitians in South Florida -- to get a green card or asylum. Thank God he's been released.''

CBS4Video/ Jean Juste's Arrival at MIA

http://www.cbs4.com/video/?id=12686@wfor.dayport.com

Posted: Mon Jan 30, 2006 2:23 pm
by Leonel JB
Fr Jean-Juste is freed under Humanitarian Ground?? Give me a Break!
The Man was jailed illegally. He was jailed for political purposes.
Boniface and Latortue are even worst than F. Duvalier.
I believe that the next government needs to jail those two " Cretins " for their illegal Government and Crimes committed...
There will be a lot of charges against Gwo Jera. From stealing to illegal arrest of Citizens...
A suivre...
leonel

Posted: Mon Jan 30, 2006 10:24 pm
by Michel Nau_
Yes Marilyn, I noticed the swollen glands on his neck, and I am wondering what could be the cause. I hope that someone with medical background, or had encountered this kind of illness could talk to us about it.
I have seen people with big neck but they are football players.
I hope that it's nothing serious.

To go back to politics, how long Jean Juste is going to stay outside Haiti?
He would not be in Haiti for the elections, that what they wanted anyway.