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So Ann Released on Bwa Kayiman Day , August 14, 2006

So Ann and her Choir


 

 

 



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Update: Yvon Neptune Released From Prison, July 27, 2006
Caricom
| OAS reactions
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Democracy Now!
EXCLUSIVE: Haitian Political Prisoner So Anne Released

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Bwa Kayiman 2006 - The Day So Ann Was Liberated

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Sò Ann Freed,
San Francisco Bayview


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Released Not by Might, Nor Power, but by Spirit
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Join HLLN's Media Campaign to FREE political prisoners in Haiti, protect the Feb. 7th vote and to stop media bearing false and racists witness to the plight of the people of
Haiti

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HLLN's Media Campaign
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Investigate the electoral fraud: COUNT ALL THE VOTES!!!! HLLN'S "Protect the Feb. 7th vote and the "NO-protectorate-for-Haiti" campaign
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Ayisyen: You Are Not Alone!


 

 

 

 

Neptune's health deteriorated dramatically in jail. Two UN peacekeeper support the frail Neptune

Read- PM Yvon Neptune's explosive and condemning August 23, 2004 letter from Prison to US Ambassador James Foley

 

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Demand Release of all political Prisoners

1. Boukman's Prayer (English and French)

2. On Working with While Liberals by Maya Angelou

3. HLLN comprehensive contact list

4. Also go to:Remembering July 6, 2005 and the UN massacre of innocent civilians from Site soley: Demand UN soldiers stop killing innocent Haitian civilians and brutalizing the Haitian public, Demand Justive for the UN Victims from Site Soley (also Apèl Pou Aksyon in Kreyol) by Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network, Haitian Perspectives, June 28, 2006 ; and

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Expose the Lies of the Interantioanl Community about Haiti, its people and resourses....by Marguerite Laurent, Haitian Perspectives, June 26, 2006

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August 14, 2006/Bwa Kayiman 2006 - The Day Sò Ann Was Liberated
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Demand Release of All the Other (over 3000) Political Prisoners in Haiti

Open Letter of Prisoner Annette August (Sò Ann) To all Authorities Concerned. Jan. 29, 2005 (in English & French)

Annette Auguste, known as Sò Anne (Sister Anne) to her millions of fans both in Haiti and the U.S., is led to her arraignment May 13 while demonstrators protest nearby demanding her release. Sò Anne, who returned to Haiti in 1994 when President Aristide returned to office after the first coup against him, had lived for over 20 years in New York City. There she organized huge rallies urging Aristide's return, once drawing an audience of 25,000 to a rally in Central Park.

Photo: 2004 Haiti Information Project

So Ann is finally RELEASED from prison in Haiti

So Ann (Annette August) who has been in prison for over two years (since May 10, 2004) is in the process of being RELEASED. Apparently the Haitian police are escorting her home as I write this (8:21pm) This is the latest information we've received from Haiti. We are on the phone with Haiti righ now. Our Haiti contact was at the Palè Jistis, at a hearing where So Ann, along with others, including Yvon Zap Zap, Paul Raymond, and George Honore have had their cases examined by the judicial authorities.

The hearing has been going on most of the day. According to our Haiti contact, who knows that HLLN was the first to report and write about So Ann's
arrest and has been very anxious to see her release, the Haitian judge in charge has found that there is NO EVIDENCE whatsoever to hold So Ann in
prison.

(See, HLLN's report on the arrest of Sò Ann and the May 12, 2004 Urgent Action Alert: Defenseless Haitian Children hooded and manacled (ala Iraqi prisoner/terrorists treatment) by US Marines in the dead of night in
Haiti
and See Conspiracy of Not, by Ezili Danto, May 13, 2004
http://www.margueritelaurent.com
/pressclips/conspiracy.html)

According to all the inquiries and investigations presented by the prosecuting folks in Haiti, the determination is that there was no legal reason for So Ann to have been put in jail in the first place. For instance, our Haiti contact explains that no one showed up to testify against these defendants. For example, our contact who was in the courtroom reports that Charles Henri Baker was one of the folks who had filed a complaint against So Ann for the Dec. 5, 2003 University incident. Apparently all those who signed complaints against So Ann, including Charles Henri Baker, and all those who filed complaints for the other three in court today, simply did not show up
in court to prove their claims when their names where called up and allegations read.

Apparently Haitian defense attorney Mario Joseph was well prepared and showed medical records to show where So Ann was on December 5, 2003 and other evidence that exonerated all the wrongfully and illegally held detainees. According to our latest report, the only folks who showed up in court where the supporters of the detainees. Again, none of the folks who signed complaints against So Ann and the others showed up to litigate their claims. After hearing all of Mario Joseph evidence, the government prosecutor (Commissaire Gouvernment) asked that So Ann and all the prisoners be immediately released to go to their homes and be with their families.

Our Haiti contact's understanding is that the prisoners will go to their homes directly and not back to prison to be processed out. Apparently the necessary documents have been all signed. Tomorrow apparently is Yvon Zap Zap's wife's birthday and many Haitian folks are finally starting to feel today was a good day for Haiti.

Stay tuned for further HLLN details on this developing story. Let your
friends know a glimmer of hope came through today for Haitian women and
Haiti.

Marguerite Laurent, Esq.
Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network
August 14, 2006, 8:21 p.m.

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HLLN BACKGROUND INFORMATION
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1. Letter from Jail, Annette (Sò Ann) Auguste May 10, 2005

2. Urgent Action Alert/Campaign One: Stop U.S. military and brutal political repression of unarmed Lavalas civilians and systematic de-mobilization of the mass electorate by big U.S. and Haitian business and their Western militray forces in Haiti, May 13, 2004

Defenseless Haitian Children hooded and manacled (ala Iraqi prisoner/terrorists treatment) by US Marines in the dead of night in
Haiti
by Marguerite Laurent

3. Conspiracy of Not May 13, 2004 by Ezili Dantò

4 . See article on the Mother's Day midnight "show of force" in Haiti by U.S.
soldiers reported to be terrorizing our poor neighborhoods in Haiti, while
letting the rich, armed and ever sadistic Ninjas, the Guy Philippe and his
bands, run free.
http://www.sfbayview.com/051204/soanne051204.shtml
http://www.margueritelaurent.com/pressclips/sfbayview4.html

5 . Statement from prison of Annette (Sò Ann) August, Haitian folksinger and champion of the poor, May 23, 2004 (in English & Kreyol)

6. Open Letter of Prisoner Annette August (Sò Ann) To all Authorities Concerned. Jan. 29, 2005 (in English & French)

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Bwa Kayiman 2006 - The Day So Ann Was Liberated


The artist in me wonders Is this a cosmic message or simple coincidence?

Today, we were the first to report So Ann's release because we bowed down to
the magic of today in Haitian history. By chance, HLLN was in the right place, at the right time in Haiti and understood So Ann's release would come today and released the info even before many close to her knew it was imminent. Our meditations and prayers have been answered and we are humbled. Hurray! "Ezili ohh, Ezili sa a...si pa te Bondye nou tout ta neye....!!!"

That's Sò Ann's song, blasting from the stereo as I write this piece. Check
out her CD. Yeah, yeah yeah! For some unkown reason, I played that Ezili cut
on Sò Ann's CD all this Bwa Kayiman weekend... for every HLLN/Ezili Dantò
interview and presentation!.

So Anne and her choir

Then, lo and behold, we get the miracle. Lo and behold, August 14, 2006 on Ezili Dantò day, our beloved So Ann is released. I am a poet who hasn't been able to write anything remotely poetic since this darn coup d'etat started. Now I am beginning to feel something writing itself, begining to feel imaginative again. Thank you Ezili! Thank you Sò Ann!

By now you all know
August 14, 1791 began the Haitian Revolution at Bwa Kayiman, right! That Sò Ann is released, after 27-months in prison, on August 14, 2006 couldn't be of any greater significance. The liberated female energy that began the Haitian revolution was not contained this August 14, 2006! Chapo ba So Ann, chapo ba fanm lakay-nou, fanm zantray nou. Nou salye Mamman Ayiti. San ou se san nou. Chèn sa pap janm kase! Sa se vre.

PS. I apologize in advance. I may not be able to stop myself making all sorts of associations. Either way, you all know you may just NEVER hear the last of this from me. Yeah! On the sacred day of August 14, 2006, an innocent Haitian artist, a well known folksinger, a revered grandmother, is home with her children and family after 27 months of illegal and tortuous imprisonment.

It's not justice. No. This is a long way from justice. But it's progress we didn't have yesterday. It's progress I'm feeling deep in my soul.

Thank you to all of you who have hung in there pushing for So Ann's release
all this time. Thank you so very much.

Ezili Danto
HLLN
August 14, 2006
Kanga Mundele!
("She moves not by might, nor power but by spirit!")

See: Chèn sa pap janm kase!: Ezili Dantò Performance ritual ending the Bwa
Kayiman celebrations (in Kreyol)

http://www.margueritelaurent.com/writings/bwakayiman.html#BKendingritual
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Ezili Danto's Note to the HLL Network on August 15, 2006: Thank you to all of you who have written, sharing in HLLN’s happiness for the release of So Ann. Sharing in the pleasure of Haitian women like Madanm Yvon Zap Zap, Madanm Paul Raymond, Madanm Jacques Mathelier and all the Haitian wifes, mothers, sisters, daughters, aunts and grandmothers who have stood outside the prisons, day in and day out for over two years in Haiti, some like Madanm Yvon Zap Zap with a megaphone in their mouths yelling away their pain, grief and feelings of alienation. Thank you all for supporting these women and the men -Haitian brothers, uncles, husbands and fathers who have fought this fight. The Haitian Lawyers Leadership cannot thank everyone directly, but we thank our people on the ground in Haiti. We thank Jean Ristil and all the others whose names, for safety purposes, cannot be revealed.

Thank you everyone on the Ezili Danto Listserve for circulating HLLN's work and being gracious enough to read our work.

We thank all of you who have written to shout hurray! and celebrate
that So Ann was released. We can't name all of you. But we thank Hazel Robinson, John Maxwell, Mike Levy, George Hamilton, Ivan in California, Harriette Ternipsede, Euchariste Pierre, Georgette Delinois, Leonard Celestin, Nadege Volcy, Janie LaFleur, Lavarice Gaudin, Christian Heynes, Peter Barus, Amelia Vidas and Rudy Barthelemy.......and all of you who have written letters and called Haitian radio these last two yours.

The work continues, over 3,000 political prisoners remain in prison. But thank you all for your feedback, last night and this morning. It means the world to us.

To all those Haitians whose names I've not and cannot mention, I know you're reading this: thank you for always being there to blunt the incessant blows, coup d'etat hostilities, fearmongering and oppressive compliances of the authoritarian followers.

Below I share this one feedback (in Kreyol) from Rudy Barthelemy. Thank you all for hanging in there with Ezili's Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network (HLLN). We are grateful to have your respect. We are appreciative of all your support these last two interminable years since February 29, 2004.

Here's the sample of two e-mails HLLN got in response to our post last night, "Bwa Kayiman 2006-The Day So Ann was Liberated!"


August 14, 2006 on Ezili Dantò day (August 14, 1791 begin the Haitian Revolution at Bwa K ayiman) our beloved So Ann is released. The liberated female energy that began the Haitian revolution was not contained this August 14, 2006! Cha po ba So Ann, fanm zantray nou. Chapo ba Ti Do. HLLN salye rasin nou jodi sa 14 Out 2006 ki se fèt Bwa Kayiman! Nou salye Ezili!
*

Mr. Barthelemy wrote:

"Mèsi, manbo!
Mèsi manzè!
Jodi a kè m kontan tou!
Mèsi anpil pou tout sa w fè
Sa w di ak sa w ekri!
Ou merite yon gwo mèsi nan men nou tout pèp la.
Se pa pou granmesi jodi a,
Si w resi gen yon ti kè kontan satisfaksyon
nan lokazyon liberasyon Sò Àn.
Ou merite sa wi!
Paske ou gen lontan vre kè w pa kontan
Nou gen lontan tou kè nou pa kontan,
Men jodi a, malgre sa poko fini toujou,
nou pran tit tan sa a
Pou di w Mèsi.
Siw pa t la,
Nou ta kab febli deja.
Mèsi manbo,
Mèsi manzè,
Ayibobo pou ou ak tout Sò Àn!
Nou pa p pèdi sa! "
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From: "Amalia Vidas"
To: erzilidanto@yahoo.com
Subject: re: thankyous
Date: Tue, 15 Aug 2006 20:33:00 -0700

Dear Marguerite,

A good reason to celebrate, indeed!
Thank you for sharing the good news
about So-Ann and the other defendants.
(Would that) all the political prisoners be freed soon.

And thank you for your poetry, too!

Amalia Vidas

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MORE VISCERALLY HAITIAN:


Released Not by Might, Nor Power, but by Spirit


The release of Sò Ann, Yvon Zap Zap Antoine, Georges Honore and Paul Raymond on August 14, 2006 were different than the releases of Father Jean Juste and Prime Minister Yvon Neptune. It was more viscerally Haitian. More satisfying to the Haitian commonfolk for several reasons.

There was no pretense that the law had anything to do with these commonfolks' imprisonment. No conditional releases as in the case of Father Jean Juste, or, "for humanitarian reasons" as in the case of Prime Minister Neptune. And more critically, the Internationals, unlike in the cases of Yvon Neptune and Father Jean Juste where fairly non-shows at the proceedings. In contrast, MINUSTHA took Father Jean Juste to the airport and Minister Neptune to the hospital. But MINUSTHA did not take Sò Ann home, the Haitian police did. Perhaps MINUSTHA was embarrassed that it was the US Marines that had arbitrarily arrested So Ann in the first place and didn't want the embarrassment of a public record/photo of their escorting So Ann and the other three released Lavalas activists from prison. Or, perhaps these prisoners simply didn't rank in the eyes of the Internationals.


Either way, the most important difference was that, in contrast to the release of father Jean Juste and Yvon Neptune, Sò Ann and the others were released DIRECTLY from the courthouse. There was no US Embassy and other International envoy visibly present, as in the cases of Father Jean Juste and Yvon Neptune appearing to be pulling strings, controlling each step of the release, and insisting So Ann go back to prison, prolonging the nightmare on the pretext of getting a procedurally proper prison release - no pretext that the system was fair and had procedures to be followed in this case. The Haitian judge, left to his own good judgment, ruled, without a jury or trial, that there was NO EVIDENCE to hold So Ann, Yvon Zap Zap Antoine, George Honore or Paul Raymond. Thus, it would seem the Haitian system, in effect, for the first time since the coup d’etat, working visibly without International interference, publicly acknowledged these were POLITICAL PRISONERS illegally detained with no evidence to substantiate the claims made against them. Therefore, they need not go back to prison to be procedurally released.

The Haitian message here is that the “procedure” that got them in prison for over two years was arbitrary, capricious and illegal in the first place! This, is what makes these recent liberations of the four Lavalas activists vastly different from the conditional liberations of Prime Minister Yvon Neptune and Father Jean Juste for “humanitarian reasons.”

The wives and relatives in Haiti, all Haitians, along with some decent folks from abroad, demanded immediate release of the political prisoners and the Internationals were relatively not showing their "force and control" over the country as they had with the coup d'etat's partisan and conditional releases of Father Jean Juste and Prime Minister Yvon Neptune, nor the international fanfare and escort they afforded, Yvon Neptune and Jean Juste, as the more celebrity prisoners.

The release of Sò Ann, Yvon Zap Zap, George Honore and Paul Raymond on Bwa Kayiman day was more an exercise of Haitian sovereignty, uninfluenced by the corruptible hand of the Internationals “bringing human rights, justice and democracy” to Haiti since Feb. 29, 2004. It was an exercise in Haitian self-reliance, judgment and of a Haitian common folk spirit. It’s a victory won not by connections to the Internationals, not by might, nor power but by spirit - a Haitian indomitable spirit to live free.

We don't expect, as with Yvon Neptune's release for the OAS to put out a press release "welcoming So Ann's release." But we do underline CARICOM's concerns, expressed, on the occasion of the release of Yvon Neptune that the releases ``should not obscure the fact that a large number of persons supportive of former President Aristide arrested arbitrarily for what appeared to be political reasons under the interim administration have also been denied justice...''

For, in Haiti today, there are over 4,000 Haitian prisoners indefinitely detained, with only 10% convicted of any crime. Over 3,000 Haitian prisoners who were duly convicted were summarily released during the foreign-supported-bicentennial-coup-d'etat. These convicted felons, along with CIA-trained Guy Phillip, Jean Tatoune and Louis Jodel Chamblain, are roaming Haiti freely since the coup d’etat, while Bush’s regime change in Haiti bought a witch-hunt for innocent Lavalas voters. Most of the 4,000 Haitians currently in “preventive detention” in Haiti were put there after the 2004 coup d'etat simply for voting or otherwise supporting Lavalas and President Aristide. These innocent Haitians are political prisoners suffering under terrible prison conditions and must also be set free immediately.

If we take the recent example of So Ann's Haitian-release, it's clear that without the corruptible influence and pressures of the Internationals along with their Duvalierist/Macoute economic minority in Haiti, the doors to the prisons of injustice holding Haiti's people hostage and the almost 4,000 prisoners in "preventive detention," without charge, or trial, would open immediately. All the enslaved Haitians currently in prison for political reasons would go home DIRECTLY, without pretext of trial, just like the recently released four Lavalas activists.

Ezili Danto
HLLN
August 21, 2006


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Sò Anne freed in Haiti

Daily uprising demanding freedom for political prisoners gets results
http://www.sfbayview.com/


“Lo and behold, Aug. 14, 2006, on Ezili Dantò day, our beloved Sò Ann is released,” Haitian attorney and freedom fighter Marguerite Laurent wrote jubilantly in a widely distributed email late Monday. “I am a poet who hasn’t been able to write anything remotely poetic since this darn coup d’état started. Now I am beginning to feel something writing itself, beginning to feel imaginative again. Thank you, Ezili! Thank you, Sò Ann! “By now you all know Aug. 14, 1791, began the Haitian Revolution at Bwa Kayiman, right! That Sò Ann is released, after 27 months in prison, on Aug. 14, 2006, couldn’t be of any greater significance. The liberated female energy that began the Haitian revolution was not contained this Aug. 14!” The Haitian revolution was the only successful slave rebellion in history and created the first Black independent country in the world.

“On the sacred day of Aug. 14, 2006, an innocent Haitian artist, a well known folksinger, a revered grandmother, is home with her children after 27 months of illegal imprisonment. It’s not justice. No. This is a long way from justice. But it’s progress we didn’t have yesterday. It’s progress I’m feeling deep in my soul. “Thank you to all of you who have hung in there pushing for Sò Ann’s release all this time. Thank you so very much.”

“The determination is that there was no legal reason for Sò Anne to have been put in jail in the first place,” Laurent explained early the next morning. “Haitian defense attorney Mario Joseph was well prepared and showed medical records to show where Sò Anne was on Dec. 5, 2003, and other evidence that exonerated all the wrongfully and illegally held detainees. According to our latest report, the only folks who showed up in court were the supporters of the detainees. None of the folks who signed complaints against Sò Anne and the others showed up to litigate their claims.

“After hearing all of Mario Joseph’s evidence, the government prosecutor asked that Sò Anne and all the prisoners be immediately released to go to their homes and be with their families.”

Tuesday morning, Sò Ann was interviewed by Amy Goodman, host of Democracy Now! the news magazine heard weekdays on KPFA and on more than 450 radio and TV stations around the country. Asked about her ordeal, Sò Ann said: “Everyone is suffering in the prison. I mean, it was not only me, okay? There are so many people they arrested, you know. … They call these people rats.”

“Why do you think they wanted you to remain in prison?” asked Goodman.

“Because I was friend of Aristide,” answered Sò Ann, who lived in New York City for many years and used to draw crowds as large as 25,000 to her concerts. “They overthrew Aristide. They sent Aristide to South Africa. And I was in jail. That’s it.”

“We’re also joined by Kim Ives, independent journalist, former editor of the Haitian newspaper Haiti Progres,” said Goodman, who asked Ives to describe “the significance of Sò Anne’s release, coming on the heels of the release of the former prime minister of Haiti, Yvon Neptune?”

“Yes, Amy,” said Ives, “I think it’s showing the importance of the popular pressure, which has mobilized now to primarily get the political prisoners out. It must be said that a number of other political prisoners were also released yesterday. There was Zap Zap, who’s Yvon Antoine, a musician who was also in jail; Paul Raymond, an activist who also had been in jail for over a year; as well as Georges Honoré, another activist from Bel Air. So this is showing the power of the movement, despite the foot dragging of the Préval administration. There has been just an upsurge, an uprising of people in the streets every day, demanding for the prisoners to be released, and there still are hundreds still in jail.”

Harking back to Mother’s Day 2004, when Sò Ann and her whole family, including small children, were arrested, Goodman asked Ives, “How unusual was it that Sò Anne was arrested by U.S. Marines in Haiti?”

“It was extremely unusual. They did this in complete violation of the Constitution, which doesn’t allow people to be arrested between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m., and the fact that they did the arresting and it wasn’t the police. They thought she was involved with Muslims at a local mosque and that she was going to launch some kind of attack against them, which is so preposterous. She had just come out of the hospital. She had just finished a record. She was 60 years old at that time. It was just absurd, and it was extremely irregular for them to go and arrest her and kill her dogs and attack her house military-style.”

“Do you think that the former president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, will be returning to Haiti any time soon from South Africa, where he is in exile with his family?” was Goodman’s last question.

Sò Anne responded: “We want them to return, because the Constitution said that. We do not exile people. It’s not just Aristide. All the people in exile, you know, have to come back.”

Ives added: “This mobilization has such momentum and such determination that I think it’s inevitable he must come back in the next few months. He is the symbol that the people still hold of their struggle, of their demands, and I think there’s no way, despite the U.S. government’s hostility to that project, that he cannot come back in the next few months.”

In his announcement of the long-awaited news, attorney Brian Concannon listed some of those still awaiting freedom and justice: “Some prominent political prisoners like Ameus Mayette remain in jail, Yvon Neptune and Fr. Jean-Juste are out of prison but still have cases against them. No one knows how many lower-profile political prisoners remain in jail, but they probably number in the hundreds. But we now know that the system can work, and that we can help make it work.”

Acknowledging some of the leaders of the movement to free political prisoners, Concannon said: “Annette Auguste and her co-defendants deserve our thanks and praise for insisting on justice through the dark days of Haiti’s brutal Interim Government and the frustratingly slow transition to democracy. Their perseverance through such injustice and suffering is a model to us all, and an inspiration for creating a stable democracy in Haiti so that political dissidents never again need to worry about becoming political prisoners.

“But those 826 nights (that Sò Ann was in jail) – 90 of them under an elected President – demonstrate that being persistent and being right is not enough to guarantee justice. We are only celebrating tonight because top-notch legal representation in Haitian courts was combined with a persistent campaign, in Haiti and abroad to pressure the justice system to finally give the defendants their day in court.

“Ms. Auguste’s supporters fought for justice on the streets, courageously organizing demonstrations despite the great risk. Mario Joseph and his BAI (Bureau des Avocats Internationaux) colleagues were equally courageous and persistent fighting in the courts. Supporters of justice in Haiti abroad, including Rep. Maxine Waters and Amnesty International, which twice issued calls for Annette Auguste’s release, kept the cases on the world’s radar screen. Finally, all of us who wrote, faxed and called on behalf of the political prisoners demonstrated that there was a constituency for justice in Haiti that would not give up.

“We also would not be celebrating if Haiti’s new Constitutional government and some members of the justice system had not pushed the system to work democratically.”

In addition, Marguerite Laurent acknowledged “Haitian women like Madanm Yvon Zap Zap, Madanm Paul Raymond, Madanm Jacques Mathelier and all the Haitian wives, mothers, sisters, daughters, aunts and grandmothers who have stood outside the prisons day in and day out for over two years in Haiti, some like Madanm Yvon Zap Zap with a megaphone in their mouths yelling away their pain, grief and feelings of alienation. Thank you all for supporting these women and the men – Haitian brothers, uncles, husbands and fathers – who have fought this fight.”

Laurent reprinted a letter Sò Anne had written from her jail cell on May 10, 2005, the first anniversary of her arrest: “They accused me of having contact with Haitian Muslims and planning to attack them. On May 10, 2004, the U.S. Marines assaulted, brutally, my home in the middle of the night with explosives and large arms, terrorizing all within, especially the small children of my family.

“I speak to the world as a prisoner of conscience in Haiti, held in detention for my political beliefs and convictions. I can never forget the trauma these men have caused to the youngest and most vulnerable of our household. I think none of us will ever be able to forget the inhuman treatment we were subjected to in the course of this violent action undertaken in the name of the Bush government for what it calls ‘BUILDING DEMOCRACY’ in my homeland.”

Sò Anne concluded: “They may imprison my body, but they will never imprison the truth I know in my soul. I will continue to fight for justice and truth in Haiti until I draw my last breath.”

Marguerite Laurent of the Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network may be reached at erzilidanto@yahoo.com and www.margueritelaurent.com, Brian Concannon of the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti at brian@ijdh.org and www.ijdh.org, and Democracy Now! at www.democracynow.org.

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Singer arrested by US forces in Haiti freed after two years
By Andrew Buncombe in Washington | The Independent
Published: 16 August 2006
http://news.independent.co.uk/world/americas/article1219487.ece

A popular Haitian folk singer and political activist has been released from jail more than two years after she was seized by US Marines and incarcerated without charge.

Annette Auguste, better known as So Anne (Sister Anne), was released after her lawyer persuaded a judge in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, that there was no evidence to hold her. Yesterday, freed after 826 days in a Haitian jail, she spoke of her incarceration, telling Democracy Now radio in the US: "The conditions in prison were very bad for everyone. Everybody was suffering." She added: "They had no evidence to condemn me - that is why I'm free."

******************
Democracy Now!

EXCLUSIVE: Haitian Political Prisoner So Anne Released After Over 2 Years in Haitian Jail | Tuesday, August 15th, 2006

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Update: Yvon Neptune Released, July 27, 2006
(BBC News)

Haiti ex-PM released from prison
| BBC | July 28, 2006

Haitian former Prime Minister Yvon Neptune has been released from prison after serving more than two years without being convicted of any crimes.

PM Yvon Neptune's explosive and condemning August 23, 2004 letter from Prison to US Ambassador James Foley

AP Photo.
Neptune's health deteriorated dramatically in jail. Two UN peacekeeper support the frail Neptune

He had been held on charges relating to the killing of opponents of ex-President Jean-Bertrand Aristide shortly before he was ousted in 2004.

Mr Neptune has always denied the allegations and
held repeated hunger strikes while in jail.

He was taken by ambulance to a UN-run hospital for treatment on his release.
The UN mission in Haiti (Minustah) issued a
statement saying the health of the 59-year-old politician had declined dramatically in prison.

A lawyer for Mr Neptune - who served as prime minister from 2002 to 2004 - said his client had been released for humanitarian reasons.

"After the hospital, he is free to go home. I'm confident that charges will be dropped," Mario Joseph said.

The interim administration installed after Mr Aristide's fall from power, and the recently-elected government, had faced strong international pressure to free Mr Neptune, whose imprisonment became a rallying call for Aristide supporters.

President Rene Preval, who was elected earlier this year, is himself a former ally of Mr Aristide.

Mr Aristide was forced from office in an armed rebellion in February 2004 and is currently living in exile.

Thousands of UN peacekeepers were later deployed to try to quell the unrest which continues to plague the Caribbean nation.

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Caricom welcomes release of Haiti's former leader, criticizes 'arbitrary' detentions
The Associated Press

Posted July 30 2006, 11:16 AM EDT

GEORGETOWN, Guyana--The Caribbean Community regional group has welcomed former Haitian prime minister Yvon Neptune's release from jail but criticized the ``arbitrary'' detentions of other prisoners in the troubled country, the group said in a statement.

Neptune was released from a Haitian jail Thursday, more than two years after he was arrested on charges of orchestrating the killing of opponents of ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide at the start of a rebellion that engulfed the country.

But Neptune's release ``should not obscure the fact that a large number of persons supportive of former President Aristide arrested arbitrarily for what appeared to be political reasons under the interim administration have also been denied justice,'' the 15-member group, known as Caricom, said. It did not disclose further details.

Still, the group praised Haiti's new President Rene Preval, who took power in May, for efforts in strengthening the nation's judicial system.

Neptune's release came a day after the regional alliance announced plans to give Haiti US$17 million (euro13 million) as part of an international effort to aid the impoverished nation of some 8 million people.


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OAS WELCOMES RELEASE OF YVON NEPTUNE
July 28, 2006

The Assistant Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Ambassador Albert R. Ramdin, today welcomed the release from prison of former Prime Minister of Haiti Yvon Neptune.

"This is a very positive development, as Mr. Neptune's imprisonment has been an issue of concern to the member states for the past two years," Ramdin said. "During every meeting with Haitian authorities, we conveyed our concern about his long pre-trial detention and asked for an immediate resolution to his case."

Ambassador Ramdin, who attended the International Conference for the Economic and Social Development of Haiti, held in Port-au-Prince earlier this week, added that the release of the former Prime Minister "also demonstrates, in my view, an important signal of the current administration to deal effectively with the issue of pre-trial detention."

"During the recent donor conference, the OAS reiterated its support to the Haitian authorities in their efforts to strengthen and modernize the judicial system," Ramdin noted.

Last month, the OAS General Assembly adopted a resolution entitled "Strengthening Democracy and Socioeconomic Development in Haiti," renewing the OAS commitment to support Haiti in such areas as strengthening electoral institutions, developing and maintaining a civil registry, providing training for political parties, helping to strengthen the judiciary and law enforcement agencies, and fostering economic development.

Taken from the OAS website www.oas.org <http://www.oas.org>


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The 2006 Haiti Resolution
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Drèd Wilme, A Hero for the 21st Century

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April 20, 2005

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zilibutton Slide Show at the July 27, 2004 Haiti Forum Press Conference during the DNC in Boston honoring those who stand firm for Haiti and democracy; those who tell the truth about Haiti; Presenting the Haiti Resolution, and; remembering Haiti's revolutionary legacy in 2004 and all those who have lost life or liberty fighting against the Feb. 29, 2004 Coup d'etat and its consequences
     
 
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