Demand the Immediate Release
of Father Gèrard Jean-Juste

(Other current action alert: Denounce slaughter in Site Soleil with Sample Letters & contact info)



Statements, messages and personal testimonies from "Father Jean Juste from a Haitian Jail" are on our Ezili Danto
Testimonies Page with medical reports on his health on August and December, 2005

This World Human Rights Leaders Call for Release of Haitian Political Prisoners Pere Jean-Juste and Yvon Neptune

San Francisco University of California awards the title Doctor Honoris Causa to
Father Gèrard Jean Juste

Resolution Calling For The Immediate Release of Prisoner of conscience

Resolution on Haiti by the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL)

Free This Priest
Father Gerard Jean-Juste is no outlaw. He's a Magic City hero
By Chuck Strouse

U.S. Congressmembers Again Call on Haiti PM to Release Political Prisoner

Priest Called 'Prisoner of Conscience' by Jacqueline Charles, Miami Herarld, 8/20/05

29 Members of Congress pressure Bush for the relese of political prisoner Father Gerard Jean-Juste

Human Rights First: Your Help Needed for Haitian Priest and Activist - Take Action

See: Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) urges President Bush to take action
to obtain the release of Father Gerard Jean-Juste from prison in Haiti.

Congressman Kendrick B. Meek protests Haiti's Indefinite Detention of Political Prisoners

Amnesty International has designated Fr. Jean-Juste as a Prisoner of conscience and asked for international action to be brought. On, October 13, 2005 the first arbitrary and capricious arrest of Father Jean-Juste took place as he was feeding more than 600 children at his church in Port-au-Prince. Hooded police, all in black with heavy guns, burst into his church grounds, firing shots, shooting, wounding three children, smashing windows, throwing father Jean Juste to the ground and dragging him prison him head first into their truck bound for prison without a warrant. Jean Juste remained in prison for 2 months on a "disturbing the peace" charge that carried a fine equivalent to 30 U.S. cents. This time, on July 21, 2005, Father Jean-Juste was at St. Pierre Church to participate in the funeral for journalist Jacques Roche alongside Bishop Pierre André Dumas. He was arrested by MINUSTHA "for his own protection" but only after being beaten by the coup d'etat, Group 184-thugs. And later charged with murdering Jacques Roche, a kidnapped victim who was killed while father Jean Just wasn't even in Haiti, but in Miami leading a demonstration to the Brazilian consulate protesting the coup d'etat government. Please follow up on the Amnesty International requests for action below these links. Demand the immediate release of father Jean Juste! Father Jean-Juste was beaten and arrested on church grounds but the hierarchy, the leaders of the Catholic Church never condemned the illegal and arbitrary measures taken against Father Jean-Juste on church grounds. In fact, while in prison, the Conference of Bishops stripped Father Jean Juste of the ability to do mass, on the pretext he was a presidential candidate. Meanwhile, those who assaulted Father Jean Juste have never been condemned either by the de facto government or the Catholic authorities and are walking the streets with impunity.

- Click on: Jean Juste was attacked at church and arrested. Demand IMMEDIATE RELEASE of Father Gerald Jean-juste, by Bill Quigley | Common Dreams

- Haiti Action Commitee: Father Jean Juste arrested. Demand release, go to:zilibutton
Further Info: http://www.haitiaction.net/News/BQ/7_24_5/7_24_5.html
Haiti Action's Updates on Jean Juste

HLLN Sample Letter Demanding release of Father Gerald Jean Juste:


I respectfully call on your government to immediately and unconditionally release from prison Father Gerard Jean-Juste, who Amnesty International has declared to be a prisoner of conscience, detained solely for exercising his human right to freedom of expression. Father Jean-Juste is a nonviolent activist who does not in any way merit being imprisoned. 29 Members of the US Congress have written to President Bush to request the immediate release of Father Gerald Jean Juste. Human Rights first has launched a campaign for the release of father Jean Juste along with hundreds of Haiti solidarity network

Father Gerald Jean Juste is a peaceful man with a long record of human rights work both in the US and in Haiti. He has never advocated violence but continues to demand that the rule of law be applied and the duly elected government of Haiti be returned to power.

Having read the recent acccounts of trumped-up charges against Father Juste for the murder of Jacque Roches, I request his immediate release from prison and UN guarantees of his safety, with no further harrassment by government officials. This is the second time father Jean Juste has been illegally incarcerated. He clearly had nothing to do with the murder of this kidnapped victim, as he was in Miami at the time. Please adhere to the rule of law.



U.S. Congressmembers Again Call On Haiti PM To Release Political Prisoners

September 13, 2005

Hardbeatnews, WASHINGTON, D.C., Tues. Sept. 13, 2005: Thirty-four congressional representatives of the U.S. House are urging interim Haitian Prime Minister, Gérard Latortue, to release Reverend Gérard
Jean-Juste and other unlawfully detained prisoners being held by the Haitian government.

The more than two-dozen politicians are all Democrats, who make up the majority of the Black Caucus, but there are also several Latino representatives and Caucasians, including Congressman Joe Crowley of
New York.

In a letter to Latortue, who is expected in NYC this week for the UN General Assembly, the congressmembers said, “… in the eyes of the international community, the continued illegal detention of Haitian citizens dilutes the legitimacy of governmental authority.”

“We urge you take the necessary steps to discharge Reverend Jean-Juste, former Prime Minister Yvon Neptune and other Haitian citizens who are currently entitled to release under Haitian law,”
the letter stated. “Their confinement comes in stark contrast to the Ministry of Justice's recent decision to release one of Haiti's most notorious paramilitary leaders from the 1991 coup d'état, Louis-Jodel Chamblain.”

Father Jean-Juste, founder of the Haitian Refugee Center in Miami and a beloved figure among the South Florida Haitian Community, was arrested again on July 21, 2005, and has yet to be charged with any crime. Haitian law requires charges to be filed within 48 hours of initial arrest.

Former Prime Minister Yvon Neptune was also imprisoned unlawfully for more than ten months before his arraignment. He is currently still in prison, jailed now for more than a year and apparently without any
prospect of a timely hearing.

Congressman Kendrick Meek, who joined the 33 other members of Congress in signing off on the letter, added, “With the elections in Haiti quickly approaching, the detention of Father Jean-Juste and
others will taint global opinion of Haiti. Haiti simply cannot continue down the path of sham trials, political arrests, and indefinite detentions without charge."

Copyright © 2005 Hard Beat News.

PUBLIC AI Index: AMR 36/008/2005
UA 195/05 Arbitrary arrest/prisoner of conscience
25 July 2005

HAITI Gérard Jean-Juste (m), aged 59, Catholic priest

Catholic priest Gérard Jean-Juste was taken into custody at a police station "for his own protection" on 21 July, after he was assaulted, but while he was at the police station he was accused of murder.

He was abroad at the time of the murder of which he has been accused, but he is a prominent opponent of the government. Amnesty International considers him a prisoner of conscience, detained solely because he has peacefully exercised his right to freedom of _expression. He risks spending a long time in custody awaiting trial on apparently trumped-up charges.

Rev. Jean-Juste has been an outspoken supporter of former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, and critic of the present government, in his sermons and in radio broadcasts.

On 21 July he attended the funeral of journalist Jacques Roche, at a church in the Pétionville suburb of the capital, Port-au-Prince. He was assaulted and threatened by a mob outside the church, who said he was one of those responsible for the violence that is sweeping the capital. He was taken to Pétionville police station by officers from the Haitian police and the UN civilian police force, CIVPOL.

None of his attackers is known to have been detained.

At the police station, officer Jean-Daniel Ulysse, from the Central Command of the Judicial Police (Direction Centrale de la Police Judiciaire, DCPJ) accused him of the murder of the journalist. Although he was supposedly there simply for his own safety, he was locked up in a cell at the police station with another 43 detainees. The following day he was transferred to the National Penitentiary, where he is in solitary confinement. According to his lawyer, he has reportedly been charged with the murder of Jacques Roche. However, Rev. Jean-Juste and his lawyers were not shown an arrest warrant or any other official statement of the charges. He is one of dozens of Aristide supporters who have been arbitrarily detained in this way.

Journalist Jacques Roche was kidnapped on 10 July, and murdered when the full ransom demanded was not paid. Rev. Jean-Juste was in the United Sates at the time, returning from Miami on 15 July.

Rev. Jean-Juste has been a target for government repression for some time. On 13 October 2004, he was arrested by police without a warrant at his church, Saint Claire's, in Port-au-Prince. A warrant issued on 18 October accused him of “plotting against the internal security of the state.” He was released on 29 November, after six weeks in custody. When he flew in from Miami on 15 July, he was stopped at Port-au-Prince airport, searched and questioned. He was ordered to present himself to the judicial police on 18 July, and two days later he was questioned by the investigating magistrate, regarding the accusation leading to his October arrest.


President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was ousted on 29 February 2004, after an armed rebellion led by former military officers took control of the whole country. The same day, a US-led multinational force was deployed in Haiti, authorized by the UN Security Council. An interim government was put in place in early March with Gérard Latortue sworn in as Prime Minister. In June 2004, the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) was sent to assist the interim government in securing the country, reforming the national police and protecting human rights. Since October 2004, the violence has escalated, particularly in the capital, where armed gangs, some of which allegedly have political affiliations to Aristide's party, are responsible for numerous killings and grave human rights abuses.


Please send appeals to arrive as quickly as possible, in French, English or your own language:
* expressing concern at the arrest and detention without formal charges of Rev. Gérard Jean-Juste; * pointing out that he appears to be a prisoner of conscience, detained solely for the legitimate _expression of his opinions, and urging the authorities to release him immediately and unconditionally; * calling on the authorities to put an end to the arbitrary detentions that are prevalent throughout Haiti.

Prime Minister
Gérard Latortue
Ministère de l'Intérieure, Villa d'Accueil, Delmas 60
Musseau, Port-au-Prince, HAITI (W.I.)
Fax: +509 298 3901
Salutation: Monsieur le Premier Ministre/Dear Prime MinisterMinister of Justice and Public Security

Me. Henri Dorléans
Ministère de la Justice
19 Ave. Charles Sumner, Port-au-Prince, Haiti (W.I.)
Fax: 011-509 245 0474
Salutation: Monsieur le Ministre/Dear Mr. Dorléans

General Director of the Haiti National Police
Mario Andresol
Directeur Général de la Police Nationale d'Haïti
Grand Quartier Générale la Police
12 rue Oscar Pacot, Port-au-Prince, Haiti (W.I.)
Fax: 011-509 245 7374
Salutation: Monsieur le Ministre/Dear Mr. Andresol

Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General
Juan Gabriel Valdés
United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti
385, Ave. John Brown, Bourdon, B.P. 557,
Port-au-Prince, Haiti (W.I.)
Fax: +509 244 3512
Salutation: Monsieur le Représentant spécial/Dear

Special Representative Valdés
Head of Human Rights Division

Thierry Fagart
Human Rights Division, MINUSTAH

385, Ave. John Brown, Bourdon, B.P. 557
Port-au-Prince, Haiti (W.I.)
Fax: +509 244 9366
+509 244 9367

and to diplomatic representatives of Haiti accredited to your country.

Check with the International Secretariat, or your section office, if sending appeals after 5 September 2005.

Additional contact information:

Embassy of the Republic of Haiti
2311 Massachusetts Ave.NW.
Washington DC 20008
Fax: 1 202 745 7215
Email: embassy@haiti.org

U.S. Ambassador to Haiti, James B. Foley
United States Embassy
Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Telephones: 011-509-223-4711, or 222-0200 or 0354
Fax: 011-509-223-1641 or 9038
Email to Dana Banks, Human Rights Officer:
Canadian Ambassador to Haiti, Claude Boucher
Embassy of Canada
Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Telephone: 011-509- 249-9000
Fax: 011-509-249-9920
Email: prnce@international.gc.ca

Ambassador of France
in Haiti, M. Yves GAUDEUL
Embassy of France
51 place des Héros de l'Indépendance - BP 312
Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Telephone: 011-509-222-0952
Fax : 011-509-223 5675

*********************Other current Urgent Action Request**************************
HLLN's Open Letter Demanding a Stop to UN slaughter of Haitian civilians in Site Soleil, Haiti, July 21, 2005

Haitian civilians in Haiti by UN troops. Please send appeals immediately


Mikael Moore
August 5, 2005
(202) 225-2201


Washington, D.C. -- Today, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) sent a letter to President Bush, urging him to take action immediately to obtain the release of Father Gerard Jean-Juste from prison in Haiti.

Copies of the letter were sent to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Ambassador James Foley, the U.S. Ambassador to Haiti.

The text of the letter follows:

I write to express my outrage over the unjust arrest of Father Gerard Jean-Juste in Haiti and to urge you to take action to obtain his immediate and unconditional release from prison.

Father Jean-Juste is the pastor of Saint Claire Church in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. He is a widely-respected Catholic priest and a courageous advocate for peace and justice. He runs a soup kitchen for hungry children in his parish, and he has always spoken out forcefully against all forms of violence.

Father Jean-Juste was arrested on July 21, 2005, while attending the funeral for Jacques Roche, a Haitian journalist who was kidnapped, held for ransom and then murdered. When Father Jean-Juste and several other priests marched out of the church sacristy to say blessings over the coffin, a group of anti-LAVALAS partisans reportedly attacked him.

Members of the group slapped him, spat on him, and grabbed his church vestments. Haitian police took him to a police station and then told him he was under arrest. His attackers were never arrested. Father Jean-Juste is currently being held in the Haitian National Penitentiary.

Haitian police claimed Father Jean-Juste was arrested because a "public clamor" at Mr. Roche's funeral accused him of murdering the journalist. This ridiculous accusation was made despite the fact that Father Jean-Juste was in Miami at the time of the murder. It is outrageous that the Interim
Government of Haiti arrested a religious leader because of the demands of a few partisan extremists.

Father Jean-Juste's arrest is another example of the systematic repression of Haitians who are suspected of supporting the LAVALAS party. Father Jean-Juste joins numerous LAVALAS leaders in Haiti's overcrowded prisons, including Former Prime Minister Yvon Neptune, former Interior Minister
Jocelerme Privert, and Haitian singer Anne Auguste. There are an estimated 700 political prisoners in Haiti, and many of them are LAVALAS members who have been detained for months without formal charges. Human rights organizations have reported that summary executions are common in Haiti, and many Haitians believe that LAVALAS supporters are targeted for both arrests and summary executions.

I am deeply concerned that Father Jean-Juste may have been arrested to prevent him from becoming a candidate for the LAVALAS party in the upcoming Haitian elections, which are scheduled for October and November of this year. As long as Father Jean-Juste and other potential LAVALAS candidates remain in prison, LAVALAS will not be able to participate effectively in these elections.

I implore you to contact the Interim Government of Haiti at once and urge that Father Jean-Juste be immediately and unconditionally released. I appreciate your attention to my concerns, and I look forward to discussing Father Jean-Juste's fate and the future of Haiti with representatives of
your Administration.

Support the Release of
Father Gerard Jean-Juste,
Who is Unjustly Imprisoned in Haiti
DEADLINE: Thursday, August 11, COB

Dear Colleague:

Please join us in sending the attached letter to President Bush expressing profound concerns about the unjust imprisonment of Father Gerard Jean-Juste in Haiti. The letter urges the President to take action to seek his immediate and unconditional release from prison.

Father Jean-Juste is a widely-respected Catholic priest and a courageous advocate for peace and human rights in Haiti. During the 1970's, he founded the Haitian Refugee Center in Miami, Florida, where he worked to provide assistance to refugees who were fleeing persecution under the Duvalier regime.

He returned to Haiti in 1991 and currently serves as the pastor of Saint Claire Church in Port-au-Prince and runs a soup kitchen for impoverished children in his parish. Fr. Jean-Juste has always spoken out forcefully against all forms of violence.

Father Jean-Juste was arrested on July 21, 2005, while attending the funeral for Jacques Roche, a Haitian journalist who was kidnapped, held for ransom and then murdered. Haitian police claimed he was arrested because a "public clamor" at the funeral accused him of murdering Jacques Roche, although he was in Miami at the time of the murder. He currently is being detained in the Haitian National Penitentiary.

Amnesty International has determined that Father Jean-Juste is a prisoner of conscience, who is detained solely because he has peacefully exercised his right to freedom of _expression. Amnesty International has urged that he be immediately and unconditionally released.

We hope you will join us in supporting the immediate and unconditional release of Father Jean-Juste. The letter is on the reverse. If you have any questions or would like to sign on to the letter, please contact Kathleen Sengstock of Congresswoman Waters' staff at (202) 225-2201.
/s Maxine Waters

/s Jan Schakowsky

/s Barbara Lee

August 12, 2005

President George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President:

We write to express our profound concerns about the unjust imprisonment of Father Gerard Jean-Juste in Haiti. We urge you to take action at once to seek his immediate and unconditional release from prison.

Father Jean-Juste is a widely-respected Catholic priest and a courageous advocate for peace and human rights in Haiti. During the 1970's, he founded the Haitian Refugee Center in Miami, Florida, where he worked to provide assistance to refugees who were fleeing persecution under the Duvalier regime.

He returned to Haiti in 1991 and currently serves as the pastor of Saint Claire Church in Port-au-Prince and runs a soup kitchen for impoverished children in his parish. Fr. Jean-Juste has always spoken out forcefully against all forms of violence.

Father Jean-Juste was arrested on July 21, 2005, while attending the funeral for Jacques Roche, a Haitian journalist who was kidnapped, held for ransom and then murdered. Haitian police claimed he was arrested because a "public clamor" at the funeral accused him of murdering Jacques Roche, although he was in Miami at the time of the murder. He currently is being detained in the Haitian National Penitentiary.

Amnesty International has determined that Father Jean-Juste is a prisoner of conscience, who is detained solely because he has peacefully exercised his right to freedom of _expression. Amnesty International has urged that he be immediately and unconditionally released.

We respectfully request that you urge the Interim Government of Haiti to release Father Jean-Juste immediately and unconditionally. We appreciate your attention to our concerns.

cc: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice

Ambassador Juan Gabriel Valdès, MINUSTAH

Ambassador James Foley, U.S. Embassy in Haiti

Douglas M. Griffiths, Deputy Chief of Mission, U.S. Embassy in Haiti

Dana Banks, Human Rights Officer, U.S. Embassy in Haiti


Congressman Kendrick B. Meek Protests Haiti's Indefinite
Detention of Political Prisoners

August 8, 2005

Congressman Kendrick B. Meek, 17th Congressional District of Florida

Drew Hammill
(202) 225-4506


In Letter to Haitian Prime Minister, Congressman Says Arrests of Jean-Juste and Neptune Undermine Haiti's Future


WASHINGTON, DC - Today, Congressman Kendrick B. Meek wrote to Haitian Prime Minister Gérard Latortue to express his "serious concerns" over the state of the Haitian judicial system, which has been characterized by sham trials, political arrests, and indefinite detentions without charges or trials.

Meek called imprisonment of Reverend Gérard Jean-Juste, the founder of the Haitian Refugee Center in Miami in 1978 and a beloved figure among the South Florida Haitian Community, the "latest in a string of highly questionable actions by the Haitian judicial system."

Congressman Meek also reiterated his long-standing concerns over the continued imprisonment of former Haitian Prime Minister Yvon Neptune. Neptune remains imprisoned since June 2004, but only appeared before a judge after ten months of detention and mounting international pressure.

The Congressman noted that an Organization of American States report found that, of the 1,054 inmates at the National Penitentiary, only nine had been convicted of an offense.

"I strongly urge the Haitian government to honor the Haitian Constitution and the basic principles of international human rights,"said Meek.

"False arrests, indefinite detentions, political prosecutions and irregular trial undermine the rule of law and support for Haiti in this country and abroad."
Congressman Meek's letter to Haitian Prime Minister Gérard Latortue follows:

August 8, 2005

The Honorable Gérard Latortue, Prime Minister
The Republic of Haïti
Minister Villa D'Accuiel Bourdon
Port-au-Prince, Haïti, W.I.

Dear Mr. Prime Minister:

I write to voice my serious concerns over the continued detention of the Reverend Gérard Jean-Juste.
It is my understanding that Father Jean-Juste was imprisoned more than a week ago in Port-au-Prince and, despite the fact that he was not formally charged with any crime, he remains incarcerated, well beyond the maximum period of forty-eight hours prescribed under Haitian law.

The imprisonment of Father Jean-Juste is just the latest in a string of highly questionable actions by the Haitian justice system. The trial of Louis Jodel Chamblain, who was tried last year in the middle of the night, was described by the Washington Post as "farcical" and a "sham."

An investigation earlier this year by the Organization of American States found that, of the 1,054 inmates at the National Penitentiary, only nine had been convicted of an offense. Finally, former Prime Minister Yvon Neptune remains imprisoned since June of 2004, and was only allowed to appear before a judge after ten months of detention and considerable international pressure.

The unlawful and indefinite confinement of Haitian citizens weakens your government's position in the eyes of the international community and undermines the democratic process and the rule of law. Haiti's respect for the rights of its citizens and, moreover, its adherence to the Haitian Constitution and laws of the Republic, weighs heavily on economic support decisions by businesses and government that are vital to the economic development of Haiti and the welfare of the Haitian people.

Mr. Prime Minister, you have publicly committed yourself to a transparent and accountable government for Haiti. I, therefore, request that your Justice Ministry take the necessary steps to discharge Reverend Jean-Juste, former Prime Minister Yvon Neptune and other Haitian citizens who are currently incarcerated and are eligible for release under Haitian law.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter.


Member of Congress



Human rights advocates and U.S. officials are demanding the release of former Miamian Gérard Jean-Juste from a Haitian jail.

jcharles@herald.com | Miami Herald, Saturday, August 20, 2005

Former Miami activist Gérard Jean-Juste has become the focus of a strong letter-writing campaign urging his release from a Haitian jail and calling him a political prisoner.

A Catholic priest who led the most powerful Haitian rights group in the country, Jean-Juste was arrested last month for investigation in the murder of a journalist, but no formal charges have been filed.

He has been one of the staunchest critics of Haiti's U.S.-backed interim government, accusing authorities of human rights abuses against supporters of former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and Washington of racist policies.

Aristide's supporters allege that more than 700 of their brethren have been jailed for political reasons. They include former Prime Minister Yvon Neptune and Annette Auguste, a 70-year-old Haitian grandmother and popular singer known as Só Ann.

Twenty-nine members of the U.S. Congress plus thousands of supporters from 42 countries and 10 U.S. states have sent letters to the U.S. and Haitian governments demanding his release from a Port-au-Prince jail.


Amnesty International has said the charges against Jean-Juste are ''trumped up'' and it has called him a ''prisoner of conscience,'' a classification usually reserved for the victims of the worst abuses.

''Father Jean-Juste is an advocate for human rights in Haiti, and his arrest is part of a long-standing attempt to silence him for his criticism of the Haitian government,'' said Archi Pyati of Human Rights First, a lawyers advocacy group based in New York. The group's campaign triggered 1,351 letters to the Haitian government, Pyati said.

In Miami, where Jean-Juste's supporters have held a candlelit prayer vigil in Little Haiti and protests outside the Haitian consulate, many Haitians remember him as head of the now defunct Haitian Refugee Center, which helped thousands of Haitians obtain legal residency status. Jean-Juste served as director of the center from the early 1980s until 1991, when he resigned to move back to Haiti to work for the Aristide government.

He remains one of the few Haitian leaders who can draw a crowd in Little Haiti, and hundreds of Haitians clamored to touch his face at a rally he appeared at in December, just days after he was released from his first stay in a Haitian jail.

''I know that Father Jean-Juste is being persecuted for what I don't know,'' said Farah Juste, a Miami community activist. ``He's fighting for the cause of the masses''

In a letter dictated from jail to his U.S. lawyer, a defiant Jean-Juste said he had collapsed from unknown causes on Sunday but pressed his demands:


''Regardless of all the hardship, I am still joining my voice to the voices of all democracy lovers to demand the return of constitutional order in Haiti, the physical return of our elected president Aristide, release of all political prisoners, respect of all human rights,'' he wrote.

But while Jean-Juste's demands for the return of Aristide may have ruffled the Haitian government's feathers, supporters say he has become even more of a problem amid increasing talk that he might run for the presidency in elections scheduled for Nov. 6.

''They do not want him out [of jail] because he could potentially register as a candidate for president and easily win if he has the support of Aristide,'' said Ira Kurzban, a Miami lawyer who has known Jean-Juste for 27 years and worked for the Aristide government.

Jean-Juste has denied any interest in being a candidate, saying he wants to maintain his devotion to his church and to Haiti's poor. Aristide also was a Catholic priest, but left his order to pursue politics.
Jean-Juste was arrested July 21 after a mob attacked him during the funeral of Jacques Roche, a journalist who was kidnapped and murdered.

The priest said he went to the funeral to show his respect and that he and Roche were related.
But the mob, which accused Aristide supporters of killing Roche, chased and threatened Jean-Juste.
''They don't have anything as evidence or a charge,'' said his Port-au-Prince attorney, Mario Joseph. He filed a motion seeking Jean-Juste's release while the investigation is completed, but the judge has not yet replied.

Jean-Juste was first arrested by the post-Aristide government in October for suspicion of inciting violence and hiding pro-Aristide gunmen. He spent 48 days in jail but was not charged.


The week before his latest arrest, police stopped and questioned him for several hours after he arrived at the Port-au-Prince airport on a flight from Miami. Days earlier, Aristide critics had accused Jean-Juste of handling some of the former president's money.

Supporters credit his aggressive activism with halting U.S. government attempts to deport Haitians who had illegally migrated to South Florida.

''He's responsible for [Miami] having a Haitian community,'' Kurzban said. ``It was through his leadership and his creation of the Haitian Refugee Center and working with us on the legal work and organizing people politically that [he] stopped the deportations. It was the initiation

Free This Priest
Father Gerard Jean-Juste is no outlaw. He's a Magic City hero

By Chuck Strouse
Published: Thursday, October 27, 2005, NEWSCOM

First a rock smashed the front window. Then, after a metal shutter was slammed shut, a bottle exploded against it. Then another. And another.

A thousand Haitians burst through a police barricade one steamy summer Saturday in 1990 and swarmed a storefront off Biscayne Boulevard. Inside, as muscular Cuban-American shopkeeper Luis Reyes snapped on a bulletproof vest, one Miami cop loaded his shotgun while another pulled his pistol. I sat on a box in the rear, terrified. "They've moved the Dumpster against the back door," Reyes said. "They're starting a fire."

Early in the day, after a store clerk had pummeled a Haitian-American shopper, Kreyol-language radio announcers egged on the attack at the Rapid Transit Factory Outlet on 79th Street. A mob gathered. I was there. Then a young news reporter, I had heard the broadcasts and wandered inside just before the violence began.

After several hours, when there was a lull and the fire had been extinguished, one of the cops decided I should leave. "It might get ugly," he said. "You'll be safer outside." So I tucked my notebook in my pocket, cracked the door, and exited. I was the target for a fuming crowd. "Journaliste," I shouted, hands aloft. "Reporter."

Several men crouched. One moved toward me. I distinctly recall his angry expression and bloodshot eyes.

Then there was a hand on my shoulder, the word friend was spoken in Kreyol, and in an instant the mood changed. The crowd embraced me.

The hand and the word belonged to Rev. Gerard Jean-Juste, whose actions saved me and the others in the store that day. Speaking through a megaphone, he eventually, peacefully, helped end the attack.
Now Jean-Juste — a puckish, pudgy-faced, twelve-year South Florida resident who left Miami soon after the riot and has ministered to Haiti's poor children ever since — is stuck in a prison cell in Port-au-Prince. Falsely accused of participating in the killing of his cousin, journalist Jacques Roche, he has become a martyr. Amnesty International has declared him a prisoner of conscience. Thirty-four members of Congress have called for his release. And 400 clergy of all stripes signed a petition demanding his freedom.

The man ultimately responsible for jailing Jean-Juste on the trumped-up charges — he was in Miami at the time Roche was kidnapped — is long-time Boca Raton radio commentator Gerard Latortue, who's now the country's interim prime minister.

The dispute is a distinctly South Florida affair.

"Jean-Juste is still a hero here," comments Dufirstson Neree, a thrice-minted Ivy League grad and Haitian American who's running for Congress from an area that includes Little Haiti. "No one can defend the position that he is a terrorist or a menace to society."

Three decades ago, Jean-Juste became the first Haitian ordained as a Roman Catholic priest in the United States. In 1978, just two years before a huge wave of his countrymen transformed Miami in a boatlift, he helped establish the Haitian Refugee Center, a group that has fought all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court for the rights of people from the world's first independent black republic.

Jack Lieberman, another HRC cofounder, remembers that Jean-Juste manned the center in Liberty City and helped keep the peace during the many Eighties riots that shook the Magic City. "When he first came to the Haitian Refugee Center, most of the church agencies wanted to treat the Haitian refugee issue as one of charity," Lieberman says. "Jean-Juste pointed out that there was an injustice. Cubans were treated better than Haitians."

In the years that followed, Jean-Juste organized marches against Haiti's Duvalier regime, bad U.S. immigration law, and discriminatory policies in everything from housing to blood donation. For the Miami Herald I covered a half-dozen protests he led with megaphone in hand. I studied Kreyol and sat with him in the empty office of Veye Yo, a political meeting house on 54th Street he helped create.
He often spoke of Martin Luther King, Jr., and Gandhi. He was a true leader.

Of course, he was a rabble-rouser. Archbishop Edward McCarthy was suspicious of Jean-Juste's Liberation Theology leaning and denied him a pulpit. In response, Jean-Juste termed McCarthy a racist. After several drowned Haitian boat people washed up on a South Florida beach, Jean-Juste sued, claimed the bodies, and turned the burial into a protest.

In 1991, after Jean-Bertrand Aristide took power in a rare democratic election in Haiti, he returned home. "After all the years in exile, he needed to go back to minister to his people," comments Lavarice Gaudin, director of Veye Yo today. "He's always been a nonviolent man, but one who will nevertheless push for what is right."

He also gained political power as Aristide appointed him minister/liaison for Haitians living abroad. Then, only seven months after Jean-Juste had arrived on the island, Aristide was ousted by a bloody military coup. Jean-Juste went into hiding for three years.

He turned up on the island again in 1994, after U.N. forces returned Aristide to power. For the next ten years, he traveled often between the United States and Haiti, paying particular attention to South Florida, where more than 250,000 Haitians live. He visited his sister Francine, who lives in Broward County, and sometimes led protests. At a demonstration in Washington, D.C., in 1997, the year the Florida Marlins won the World Series, he told the assembled thousands: "The same way all of us came together in Miami to celebrate the Marlins — black, white, and brown — let us all come together for justice, peace, and fairness."

In 1998, on his radio show from Port-au-Prince, Ginen, he helped authorities find the parents of a twelve-year-old girl who was gunned down in an Allapattah flea market.

In Haiti he ministered to a parish of 80,000 Haitian families in a church on a dirt road outside Port-au-Prince. He organized a program to feed 600 youngsters twice a week. And, of course, he politicked, pushing relentlessly for Aristide, even after the president was overthrown in a bloody coup in February 2004.

Jean-Juste's serious problems began in October of last year. Armed security officers dressed in black and wearing black ski masks arrived at his church, broke through iron bars and windows, and then dragged him away on suspicion of inciting violence and hiding pro-Aristide gunmen.

Back then, only 20 of 1000 inmates in the prison where Jean-Juste was housed had even seen a judge, according to Bill Quigley, a Loyola University law professor who has represented Jean-Juste in Haitian courts. "In jail," Quigley says, there were "no beds, no blankets, and no water to bathe."

The priest was released after seven weeks for lack of evidence. "It is a big mistake of trying to lock up this guy who is speaking truth," Quigley adds. "He has never said anything about violence; he has never raised a gun."

This past July, Jean-Juste visited South Florida and led a demonstration at the Brazilian Consulate in Miami. The protestors urged that nation — which is led by a former union organizer named Luiz Inácio da Silva — to speak out against the United Nations' role in 23 killings in Cité Soleil on the island. "He came to town, said we had this massacre occur, conditions are horrible, please do something," Lieberman says. "So we went to the consulate and basically pleaded our case."

A couple of days later, Jean-Juste headed back to Haiti. Three Veye Yo members I spoke with said a pro-government Kreyol-language radio host in Miami called for violence toward Jean-Juste back on the island. "Before Father Jean-Juste left, everybody knew something would happen to him," Veye Yo's Gaudin comments. "But he said he had a mission."

In Haiti, Jean-Juste — along with Quigley, who was visiting — decided to attend the funeral of the murdered journalist Roche, a supporter of the interim government whose family is related to Jean-Juste's. There the crowd beat them and chased them into a toilet stall before Jean-Juste was arrested and thrown into a jail, where he has remained ever since.

Amnesty International termed him a political prisoner a few days later. This past August, Jean-Juste fell ill and nearly died in the prison. Recently recovered, he now sleeps on a rubber mat on a concrete floor beneath a picture of murdered Salvadoran priest Oscar Romero.

In September a group of U.S. Representatives including Kendrick Meek, Robert Wexler, and Alcee Hastings — all Democrats — sent a letter to Prime Minister Latortue calling for Jean-Juste's freedom. Referring to the release of a convicted murderer, Louis Jodel Chamblain, Meek said, "It is a sad day when a respected community leader, committed to helping the poor, is locked away in a prison cell while a convicted human rights abuser walks free."

In Little Haiti, Jean-Juste's supporters have hung pictures emblazoned with "Free Jean-Juste" in many restaurants and businesses. "Jean-Juste is my best friend," says Merus Benoit, who owns Ben Photo studio on NE 54th Street. "He suggested I go to Miami Dade College to learn English. Any time he needed a picture taken, I took it. I'd do anything for him"

At the urging of the Bush administration, elections in Haiti were scheduled for November (though they were recently postponed until December) and more than a half-dozen Haitian presidential candidates have raised money in South Florida. Jean-Juste has even pondered a try; on August 25, he told the Associated Press he would run for president "if Aristide approves my candidacy." But then, after the Archdiocese in Haiti disciplined him, he withdrew.

The problem in Haiti is not quick elections (just as that is not the answer in George W. Bush's more distant morass, Iraq). The answer is more U.S. aid to Haiti, more help to beleaguered U.N. troops there, and a concerted campaign to free Jean-Juste and jailed former Prime Minister Yvon Neptune. Miami, more than any other U.S. city, has a strong tie to the island nation. And to many of the Haitians here, Jean-Juste's imprisonment is the top issue.

"Jean-Juste is a black eye on the government of Haiti," Neree says. "As long as he is in jail, there can be no free and fair elections."


Resolution Calling For The Immediate Release of Prisoner of Conscience
Rev. Gerard Jean-Juste

over 400 members of the clergy, 34 U. S. Congressmen, the Miami Herald, the Miami Times, Human Rights First, Amnesty International, hundreds of thousands of Haitian-Americans in South Florida, and millions of Americans demand the immediate, unconditional release of Rev. Gerard Jean-Juste, a prisoner of conscience in Haiti and a hero to South Florida's Haitian refugee

WHEREAS Rev. Jean-Juste "Gerry" to millions of friends and supporters), the first ordained Haitian-American priest, moved from Boston to Miami in 1978 to fight for Haitian refugee rights, serving as Executive Director of the Haitian Refugee Center from 1979 to 1989;

this student of Martin Luther King and Gandhi is beloved to hundreds of thousands of Haitian refugees whose discriminatory, unjust, and illegal treatment by successive U. S. administrations he successfully challenged through innumerable federal court challenges, television appearances, printed
declarations, marches, demonstrations, rallies, and public appearances in South Florida, Washington, and throughout the world;

in 1989, despite grave risks to his life, Rev. Jean-Juste returned to Haiti, then under military dictatorship, to champion the needs of Haiti's poor and their quest for democracy through his ministry, principles, example, and by speaking truth to power;

WHEREAS in 1991, he was appointed Minister for Haiti's worldwide Diaspora ("Tenth Department") by the Haitian Government;

WHEREAS during the 1991-1994 coup years, in which thousands were killed and President Clinton declared, "They're chopping people's faces off," Rev. Jean-Juste, again at grave risk, insisted on staying in hiding in Haiti;

for the next ten years, Rev. Jean-Juste ministered to a parish of 80,000 Haitian families in a church on a dirt road outside Port-au-Prince, organizing a program which fed 600 children twice a week, continuing to press for democracy after Aristide's February 2004 ouster, and peacefully opposing
the Latortue government;

last October, armed men wearing black ski masks broke into his church and arrested him on fabricated charges; he was imprisoned in a jail with no beds, blankets, or water to bathe; and he was released after seven weeks due to international condemnation of his imprisonment;

WHEREAS this July, visiting Miami, Rev. Jean-Juste led a non-violent protest against killings in Cite Soleil which claimed 23 lives, was subjected to public threats and urged by colleagues not to return to Haiti, but went anyway, consistent with his principles, saying he had a mission to fulfill;WHEREAS police detained and questioned him on his arrival at Port au-Prince airport; a few days later, a pro-government mob attacked him at the funeral of a relative murdered while he was in Miami; and the government arrested him instead of his attackers and has held him ever since without formally
charging him with any crime;

WHEREAS Rev. Jean-Gerry fell ill in prison and nearly died in August and sleeps on a rubber mat on a concrete floor beneath a picture of murdered Salvadoran priest Oscar Romero;

U.S. Representatives Meek, Wexler, and Hastings wrote Haitian Prime Minister Latortue in September demanding Rev. Jean-Juste's freedom and the Miami Times urges a "concerted campaign" to free him, noting that securing his release is the top issue for tens of thousands of Haitians who echo the words of a local Haitian businessman, "Jean-Juste is my best friend. I'd do anything for him";

WHEREAS Rev. Jean-Juste is in jail for speaking truth to power in the tradition of Gandhi and Martin Luther King;

WHEREAS on December 10, thousands of Haitian-Americans and supporters will do the same and demand the immediate and unconditional release of this prisoner of conscience and hero of his people -- and that our government do everything in its power in this regard;

that as elected representatives, responsible leaders, and supporters of democracy and the rule of law, we will do everything in our power to insure Rev. Jean-Juste's immediate release, freedom of speech, and personal safety.


by the

5 November 2005,
Sofia, Bulgaria


Considering that the Assembly General of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers, during its 16th Congress in Paris, made on June 10, 2005 a resolution regarding the situation in Haiti by demanding that the interim government of Haiti and of the United Nations Mission for the Stabilization of Haiti (MINUSTAH) take the necessary measures in order to ensure the security of the REVEREND FATHER GERARD JEAN JUSTE, to free every person detained without charges and to stop persecution against their opponents;

Considering that Fr. Gérard Jean Juste was arrested a second time on July 21, 2005, kept in prison until now and declared a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International;

Considering that since the installation of the interim Haitian government supported by the United States, Canada and France in March 2004, people aligned with the LAVALAS Family movement have been systematically terrorized, killed, arrested and incarcerated in Haitian prisons without due process or even charges;

Considering that MINUSTAH, manipulated by the U.S., has not fulfilled its role as a peace mission as described in the U.N. Charter by failing to guarantee against political repression and murderous raids in the working-class neighborhoods and illegal arrests, and by supporting the illegal operations of the police and paramilitaries (comprised of escapees from prison and former military members);

Considering that the human rights section of MINUSTAH declared the human rights situation in Haiti “CATASTROPHIC”;

Considering that the judicial system in Haiti has become a machine of political repression where LAVALAS members or supporters are kept in prison without any legal justification, and those who have been convicted of grave human rights violations are freed outside of the judicial norms;

Considering that the countries of CARICOM and the African Union (AU) have condemned the February 29, 2004 coup détat in Haiti and demanded an investigation;

Considering that the U.N., instead of heeding CARICOM and the AU’s demands, have instead reinforced the illegal action by sending a purported peace mission to Haiti, to support a dictatorial regime that terrorizes its opponents and systematically and deliberately violates human rights;

As a result, the IADL, meeting in Sofia, Bulgaria on November 5 and 6, 2005, reiterates the resolution of the IADL at the 16th Congress in Paris, which is, the freedom of all persons detained without charges or prisoners of conscience pursuant to Amnesty International, and the halt of political persecutions against opponents, and demands that an investigation be brought by the U.N. regarding the events that overtook Haiti on February 29, 2004.

Sofia, Bulgaria,
5 November 2005

Agence Haïtienne de Presse - AHP
December 1, 2005

English translation (Unofficial)

San Francisco University of California awards the title Doctor
Honoris Causa to Father Gérard Jean-Juste

, December 1st 2005(AHP) - The San Francisco University of California awarded to Haitian priest Gérard Jean-Juste the title " Docteur honoris causa", for the good work done for underprivileged masses of the Haitian population.

The San Francisco University is a catholic university led by Jesuit priests.

In reaction to the honor given to Father Jean-Juste, his lawyer, Mario Joseph brought the attention on the fact that foreign priests showed attention to him, while some of his brothers from Haiti showed
no solidarity in difficult moments.

The priest of St-Claire de petite Place Cazeau Parish was arrested in the saint-Pierre Church of Pétion-Ville as he was getting ready to read mass on July 21, 2005 together with Mgr Pierre André Dumas at
the funerals of journalist-poet Jacques Roche who was found dead 5 days before after he had been kidnapped.

He expressed the wish that authorities of the Catholic Church in Haiti get hold of themselves and get on Father Jean-Juste’s side. Me Joseph declared that the priest should be released to go get his
award, since he is behind bars for no precise motive. "Justice has no element to hold my client", Mario Joseph reaffirmed.


World Human Rights Leaders Call for Freedom for Pere Jean-Juste, Yvon Neptune and Other Haitian Political Prisoners By Bill Quigley, Loyola University New Orleans School of Law.

Bill is a volunteer lawyer for Pere Jean-Juste with the Institute for Justice and Democracy, www.ijdh.org assisting Mario Joseph of the Bureau des Advocats Internationaux. Bill can be reached at Quigley@loyno.edu

What do the UN Commision on Human Rights, Irish members of Parliament, and International Human Rights Lawyers in Bulgaria have in common? They have all recently called for the immediate release of political prisoners in Haiti, specifically for the release of Fr. Gerard Jean-Juste and Yvon Neptune. Louis Joinet, the Haiti expert for the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, investigated the human
rights situation in Haiti over the past two weeks.

Joinet condemned the jailing of Pere Gerard Jean-Juste and Yvon Neptune, former Prime Minister of Haiti.

Fr. Jean-Juste, often called the Martin Luther King of Haiti, was beaten by a mob in church and arrested by the police while participating in a funeral on July 21, 2005. He was immediately declared a Prisoner of Conscience by Amnesty International and has been held in jail without formal charges ever since. Yvon Neptune, who was Prime Minister of Haiti, has been in jail since May 2004 also without trial. No trials are planned for either prisoner, or any of the other hundreds of political prisoners jailed in Haiti.

Joinet told the Associated Press the charges against Jean-Juste "seem quite weak" and questioned the
motives for detaining the priest, who had been seen by some as a potential presidential contender in upcoming elections. "When a prisoner remains in jail longer than what the law allows, he becomes a political prisoner. This seems to be the case for Jean-Juste," said Joinet. "If the Haitian judiciary does not have the means to try the people it detains, it should be compelled to release them" he concluded.

The UN call for the release of Haiti’s political prisoners follows two other international demands for
their freedom.

The International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL), meeting in Bulgaria recently in early
November, called for freedom for all political prisoners in Haiti and singled out the case of Fr.
Gerard Jean-Juste for special mention.

Later in November, members of the Irish Parliament called for the release of Fr. Jean-Juste, Yvon Neptune and all political prisoners. Parlimentarians of Sinn Fein, the Green Party, and Independents also called for full and free elections in Haiti.

The unelected powers of Haiti have labeled Fr. Jean-Juste “the most dangerous man in Haiti” for his
unrelenting calls for freedom for prisoners, his feeding of the poor, and his insistence on the
restoration of democracy.

Meanwhile, elections in Haiti have been postponed yet again as criticisms of the fairness of the electoral process mount.

Supporters of real democratic elections criticize an election process which refuses to free hundreds of
supporters of President Jean Bertrand Aristide, like Pere Jean-Juste and Yvon Neptune, who are jailed
without charges or prospects of trial.

Supporters of real democratic elections note that even those who are willing to vote face real problems.

Unelected Haitian authorities have reduced the number of polling places from over 4000 to only few hundred, with fewest in the poorer neighborhoods. Compare Los Angeles, a city with slightly larger population condensed in smaller geography, which has over 4400 polling places. How would the people of Los Angeles vote if their polling places were reduced by 90% and mostly located in high income areas?

Lethal mass violence by police and paramilitary groups continue to plague the poor neighborhoods of Port au Prince. UN troops have been accused of shielding police from accountability and even participating directly in violence in poor neighborhoods.

The people of Haiti deserve democracy as much as anyone else. Elections in this atmosphere will likely
be viewed more as selections than elections. As Fr. Jean-Juste said frequently before he was jailed:
“Free political prisoners, stop human rights abuses, and restore democracy. “

Irish leaders said in their statement all political prisoners must be released and all political exiles
must be allowed to return in order to participate in Haitian elections. Everyone, not just the rich, must
be given an equal opportunity to vote and have their vote counted in a fair and transparent manner. Most of all, the violent repression directed at the poor must stop. Elections should not be held unless and until these conditions are met.

Free political prisoners. Stop human rights abuses against the poor. Restore democracy. It is difficult
to imagine legitimate free democratic elections otherwise.
Haitian community here.''

Solidarity Day Pictures & Articles
May 18, 2005
Pictures and Articles Witness Project
Click photo for larger image
Emmanuel "Dread" Wilme - on "Wanted poster" of suspects wanted by the Haitian police.
"Dread" Wilme reported killed July 6, 2005

Emmanuel "Dread" Wilme speaks:
Radio Lakou New York, April 4, 2005 interview with Emmanuel "Dread" Wilme
Urgent Action
Alert- Demand a Stop to Killings
in Cite Soleil:

Background Info,
Sample letters and Contact information provided, April 21, 2005

Crucifiction of
Emmanuel "Dread" Wilme,
a historical

Charlemagne Peralte - The old Bandit King of Haiti
* In 1919 the US murdered him and put the body on public display

Urge the Caribbean Community to stand firm in not recognizing the illegal Latortue regime:

Selected CARICOM Contacts
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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