May 24, 2004
For Immediate Release

Haitian Lawyers Leadership denounces the campaign to prosecute Senator Yvon Feuille

Dear friends,

I am not sure who to address this letter to, so I am sending it to the Lavalas officials identified as spokespersons, and making it public, in hopes it will find its way to the necessary person(s).

The police investigation of Sen. Feuille, confiscation of the car(s) he has used, surveillance of him in connection with a drug trafficking investigation is very troubling to say the least. It continues the brutal repression and reprisals that at least four human rights organizations who have visited Haiti since the U.S.-supported Coup d'etat have reported on in detail.

The shutting down of the Haitian Senate is not unexpected. It was done at gunpoint by the U.S. Marines during the first Haitian occupation.

Therefore, I hereby publicly urge responsible and credible Lavalas officials to, at the very least, provide Sen. Feuille with a U.S.-trained lawyer to work with a Haitian lawyer and/or a US citizen who could deal with the DEA experts who are going to check the car sometimes used by Sen. Feuille to see whether it hauled cocaine.

A good defense lawyer would ask the question as to whether the apparent anti-Lavalas-PNH may have planted traces of cocaine in the vehicle. Thus, Sen. Feuille really does need his own expert to be able to verify what is going on. Otherwise, this imported government, now running wild and lawless in Haiti, which no doubt is working to shut down the Haitian Senate, may try to frame Sen. Feuille for his political beliefs under the guise of "corruption."

No one has asked my advice, but I give it because Sen. Feuille lost his younger and only brother to the pursuit of democracy in Haiti already. I happened to be in Haiti when that occurred. I do not forget Sen. Feuille's brother's kindness when I knew no one in Haiti the first time I got there.

Thus, I offer this advice in remembrance. Sen. Feuille has served well the Haitian people and under difficult circumstances. I remember working with him when he was at the General Counsel's office in New York back in 1993 or so during the first Coup D'etat against President Aristide.

He was always a hard worker, a simple but very dedicated man. He told me stories of how, for almost three years, he lived in the forests in Haiti surviving on nuts and fruits, hiding from house to house, in his attempt to flee the very FRAPH and ex-soldier peoples who now are running free in Haiti with powerful U.S. military cover.

It is my sincere hope to see responsible Lavalas officials and supporters take the steps necessary to make sure Sen. Feuille's long service to the quest of democracy and economic development of the Haitian people is acknowledged and duly protected. He should have immunity, under Haitian law, from prosecution in the first place I would think. I cannot say I know many Lavalas officials personally. But I can say I knew Sen. Feuille when he lived in the U.S. during the first Coup D'etat. I had occasion to work with him personally and visit with his family. His simple and focussed dedication to the rule of law and democracy for Haiti was exemplary. He was a dedicated father and son and someone who stayed the course even after his own younger brother was killed and there were rumors and perhaps even credible allegations someone from his own political party was complicit in the assassination.

Unlike many others who jumped ship and even joined the traditional oppressors of the Haitian peoples when the going got tough, Senator Feuille focussed on the larger picture and always put the future of Haiti and prospect of a better tomorrow for Haiti's children first, not his own pains and disappointments with certain members of his own political party. He set a very high example of what service to the greater good is all about. He was and is the best of the Lavalas promise. He was not into power grabs and keeping a job he did not earn. Unlike other Senators and officials, he did not stay only in Port-au-Prince once he got elected, forgetting his purpose within the glitter of chauffeured driven cars and instant right of way to enter the Palace gates.

Yvon Feuille kept to his roots and returned weekly to his rural village and to be close to his family and his constituents.

I find it difficult to believe that such a selfless person could change to the extent of participating in drug trafficking in a Haiti riddled with too much sickness from the ravages of AIDS and its transmittal from dirty needles. The Yvon Feuille I knew and briefly saw when I went back to Haiti during the bi-centennial celebration would not participate in activities so deadly to the very constituents he served and sacrificed for all his life.

To the extent it may help Senator Feuille, I am willing and ready to testify as a character witness as to what I know about his work to any court.

I urge all human right organizations, lawyers and workers to pay particular attention to this case and the treatment of Senator Yvon Feuille in Haiti.

But the very least that is necessary is for those responsible Lavalas officials to see Sen. Feuille is provided with his own expert and a good lawyer. That is, of course, baring the immediate cessation of this campaign to demobilize and destroy the Haitian people by picking off its authorized and chosen leaders one by one.

Haiti needs no more martyrs. But each week this imported government with its foreign military seems to be creating another cause celeb for political oppression. Last week it was So Ann. Who else next week? Meanwhile 3,000 prisoners run free in Port-au-Prince, liberated by the convicted felons and mass murderers protected by U.S. firepower to join the new enforcers against the former Constitutional government.

Sen. Feuille deserves no less from either the Lavalas officials nor this imported government than to be provided a good lawyer with standing who may go toe-to -toe with this U.S.-backed travesty against yet another well-known Haitian official, someone who has experience with such cases and DEA experts.

Marguerite Laurent, JD
Founder, Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network
(Dedicated to protecting the civil, human and cultural rights of Haitians at home and abroad.)

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