HAITI : Victory over impunity "within reach" in Lindor murder after seven are convicted in absentia

    MONTREAL, Jan. 25 /CNW Telbec/ - Reporters Without Borders hopes the
authorities will quickly arrest the seven people who were convicted in
absentia on 23 January of the 2001 murder of Radio Echo 2000 journalist
Brignol Lindor, so that light can be shed on every aspect of this crime. Two
other people were already sentenced on 12 December to life imprisonment for
the murder (see 13 December release).
    "This particularly barbaric murder remained unpunished for many years,
but justice finally began to be done at the end of 2007," Reporters Without
Borders said. "This effort must be pursued so that the case can be
definitively closed. As was to be expected, the seven suspects did not
surrender themselves by the deadline set by the court. The police and judicial
authorities must now do everything possible to arrest them. Victory over
impunity is within reach."
    The guilty verdict was handed down by Emmanuel Tataye, the chief judge of
Petit-Goâve, the town where Lindor was stoned and hacked to death on
3 December 2001. The seven persons convicted were Maxi Zéphyr, Bernard
Désamour, Tyrésias (also known as Téré), Fritznel Duvergé, Mackenzi, Belony
Colin and Fritznel Doudoute (aka Lionel and Nènèl).
    Originally indicted in 2002, they were all identified as members of a
armed militia known as Domi nan Bwa ("Sleep in the Bush") that supported
former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Judge Tataye ordered the confiscation
of all their property and assets, and the suspension of their civil and
political rights.
    Of the four defendants who appeared in court in last month's trial, two
were convicted and given life sentences: Joubert Saint-Juste and Jean-Rémy
Démosthène. On of the other two, Simon Cétoute, 56, was acquitted because it
emerged that he had been arrested instead of his son, who had the same first
name and who had recently died in the nearby town of Léogane.
    And it emerged that the fourth defendant, Fritzner Doudoute, was mistaken
at the time of his arrest for Fritznel Doudoute, one of the seven who has just
been convicted in absentia. Fritzner Doudoute was not named in the 2002
indictment or in the arrest warrant issued last year. Nonetheless, witnesses
identified him in court on 10 December as one of the people who participated
in Lindor's murder. He has therefore remained in detention and is to be the
subject of a new judicial investigation.
    A judicial investigation could also be opened against Bony Dumay,
Petit-Goâve deputy mayor at the time of the murder, who is alleged to have
incited violence against Lindor on the eve of his murder. Dumay appeared as a
witness in court on 10 December.

For further information:

For further information: Katherine Borlongan, Secretary general,
Reporters Without Borders, (514) 521-4111, Cell: (514) 258-4188, Fax: (514)
521-7771, rsfcanada@rsf.org

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