Haiti - Seven years of impunity since leading radio journalist's murder on 3 April 2000



    MONTREAL, April 3 /CNW Telbec/ - On the seventh anniversary of radio
Haiti Inter owner and manager Jean Dominique's murder on 3 April 2000 in
Port-au-Prince, Reporters Without Borders notes with regret that the
investigation that was relaunched two years ago has still not yielded any
results and impunity continues to prevail in this case.
    "It will clearly take time to put an end to violent crime and the rule of
the gangs, one of which executed news photographer Jean-Rémy Badiau on
19 January, and to rebuild the Haitian judicial system," the press freedom
organisation said.
    "But there really appeared to be a new start to the Dominique
investigation in 2006 with the election of President René Préval, a friend of
victim, and the appointment of Claudy Gassant - the original investigating
magistrate in the case - as Port-au-Prince chief prosecutor," Reporters
Without Borders added. "So why have none of the alleged killers, whose
identity and whereabout are known, been arrested? The longer this goes on, the
harder it will be to render justice."
    The investigation into Dominique's murder concluded on 21 March 2003,
three years after he and Haiti Inter caretaker Jean-Claude Louissaint were
gunned down in the radio station's courtyard. It resulted in six men being
charged and arrested: Dymsley "Ti Lou" Milien, Jeudi "Guimy" Jean-Daniel,
Philippe Markington, Ralph Léger, Freud Junior Demarattes and Ralph Joseph.
The charges against the last three were dropped on 4 August, after they
appealed against the indictment.
    Former Port-au-Prince deputy mayor Harold Sévère and Ostide "Douze"
Pétion were arrested on 14 March 2004 as the suspected instigators of the
murder. Annette Auguste, who was already being held in connection with other
criminal activity, was also accused of involvement on 10 March 2005.
    But none of these three has ever been interrogated. There has never been
any attempt to verify presumed hit-man Ti Lou's statement that he was paid
10,000 dollars to murder Dominique. And the death of two witnesses in
suspicious circumstances has never been explained.
    Ti Lou, Guimy and Markington managed to escape during a prison mutiny in
February 2005. Markington fled to Argentina, from where he contacted Reporters
Without Borders to insist on his innocence. During a visit to Port-au-Prince
in September 2005, a Reporters Without Borders delegation was told by several
sources close to the Dominique case that Ti Lou and Guimy were circulating
with complete impunity in the Port-au-Prince neighbourhood of Martissant,
where they were running a gang.
    After a previous Reporters Without Borders visit to Port-au-Prince, the
supreme court ordered the case reopened on 29 June 2004. But it took nearly a
year for a new investigating judge to be appointed, on 3 April 2005, exactly
five years after the murder. The new judge has not had access to the files and
has not been given the necessary resources, so absolutely no progress has been
made with the reopened investigation.

    Reporters Without Borders defends imprisoned journalists and press
freedom throughout the world. It has nine national sections (Austria, Belgium,
Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland). It has
representatives in Bangkok, London, New York, Tokyo and Washington. And it has
more than 120 correspondents worldwide.




For further information:

For further information: Emily Jacquard, Canadian office representative,
Reporters Without Borders, (514) 521-4111, Cell: (514) 258-4208, Fax: (514)
521-7771, rsfcanada@rsf.org

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