Mourners have erupted in anger at the funeral of a Haitian student who was raped and killed in the Dominican Republic.
More than 200 people broke out in chants of “justice” at the service in the Haitian capital for 21-year-old Rooldine Lindor. The service Wednesday drew more than family and friends since the case has provoked outrage in Haiti.
Lindor was killed on July 12 at a construction site in the Dominican Republic. The assailants robbed her of nearly $500. Police have detained two men on suspicion of murder including a member of the Dominican air force.
An estimated 600,000 Haitians live in the Dominican Republic. Haitians face discrimination and abuse and accuse local authorities of doing little to protect them.
Posted on Taiwan News Online
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Report on the Assassination of Journalist Brignol Lindor in Petit Goâve, 3 December 2001
National Human Rights Defense Network
Réseau National de Défense
des Droits Humains – RNDDH
Posté le April 3rd, 2003
On 3 December 2001, the city of Petit-Goâve witnessed an event of such barbarity and atrocity that is only reminiscent of the colonial years.
Journalist Brignol Lindor, director of the news room of RADIO ÉCHO 2000 was killed with machetes and pickaxes in Acul, which comes under the jurisdiction of the 1st municipal section (Bino) of Petit-Goâve. This violent and savage murder took place only three (3) days after public death threats were able uttered against several individuals, one of whom was Brignol Lindor, by city authorities.
NCHR immediately dispatched a team of human rights investigators to the scene for the purposes of determining the circumstances surrounding this tragedy, as well as the extent to which certain people were involved in the acts of violence in Petit-Goâve. Given the complexity of the situation, NCHR decided to allot more time to further investigation the case vis-à-vis a number of successive visits.
As such, prior to publishing this report, NCHR conducted four (4) field visits to Petit-Goâve, participated in the funeral services for Lindor, interviewed certain individuals and authorities in the community of Petit-Goâve, and listened to the declarations from different sectors of society represented in Petit-Goâve.
Recognizing the gravity of this case and its importance to those who support a society built on justice and respect for the law, NCHR will continue to closely follow the evolution of this case until the murderers of Brignol Lindor are brought to justice. Furthermore, NCHR will keep the Haitian people informed with regard to the advancement of the case whenever necessary.
The following report contains information concerning events preceding and following the events of 3 December 2001, presents the events as they happened and succinctly links them to the principal statements made by individuals and authorities interviewed by the NCHR delegation, before determining the position of the Organization.
THE PRECEDING FACTS
For some time the city of Petit-Goâve has been characterized by a quasi-permanent tension and a dangerous polarization of socio-political life. This situation is largely a consequence of the global political crisis following the elections in 2000. In that context several unfortunate incidents have preceded the macabre events of 3 December 2001.
NCHR recounts some of them:
Monday 12 November 2001: under the pressure from several individuals demanding the departure of the Lavalas government, schools in the city were forced to close their doors. These individuals openly threatened the parents of students, making them believe that they would share the fate of Roseline Vaval and Jean Robert Cius if they continued to ignore their orders.
Saturday 24 November 2001: various delegates from the Democratic Convergence from the towns of Gressier, Léogane, Jacmel, Grand-Goâve, Petit-Goâve, Miragoâne and les Cayes organized a meeting at the Convergence headquarters in Petit-Goâve, located on the corner of Lamarre and St Paul streets. Following this meeting, they announced a general strike for Thursday, 29 November 2001, which they hope to achieve in the abovementioned cities. The objective the group hoped to achieve was the fall of the Lavalas government.
Monday 26 and Tuesday 27 November 2001: all sorts of maneuvering multiplied in both directions between the protagonists (Convergence and Lavalas) in order to turn the order to strike into a success or a failure. This has created a tense situation in the city of Faustin Soulouque. Panic ensued.
Wednesday 28 November 2001: Déus Jean François, Panoski Roger and Frantz Sagaille were the invited guests of journalist Brignol Lindor during the program « Dialogue » from 8:00 – 19:00pm on RADIO ÉCHO 2000 in Petit-Goâve. During the broadcast, the guests, known for their hostility towards the Lavalas government, openly criticized and denounced the barbaric and corrupt actions of the ruling party.
Friday 30 November 2001: the City Council of Petit-Goâve (Mayor Emmanuel Antoine, and his two (2) assistants Mr. Dumey Bony and Mr. Cimeres Bolière), Mr. Jean Wilio Manéus (Director of TELECO), Mr. Robenson Desrosiers (Director of Customs), Mr. Fritznel Poussin (Director of Social Services) and Mr. Raymond Jean Fleury (coordinator of the Popular Organisation “Dòmi nan Bwa“), gave a press conference at the City Hall. During the course of this press conference, these men called for the application of “zero tolerance” vis-à-vis: Brignol Lindor, Déus Jean François, Roger Panoski, Frantz Fontenelle and Frantz Sagaille. Mr. Dumey Bony particularly distinguished himself because of the vehemence of his declarations.
On Monday 3 December 2001, at approximately 11:30am, a demonstration was organized by supporters of the Democratic Convergence, which began to unfold on Républicaine Street. The demonstration was considerably increasing in size near the Lycée Faustin Soulouque, when the students decided to join the demonstrators. However, the demonstration was quickly dispersed by officers from the Petit-Goâve police station. The protestors, retreating to the area near the Marché Dimanche (Sunday Market) on Rue Geffrard, took a hold of Joseph Céus Duverger, a security guard for the National Port Authorities (APN). Mr. Duverger was violently attacked and seriously injured with machete blows and stones, with wounds on his right leg and head. Left for dead, Mr. Duverger, member of OP Lavalas “Dòmi nan Bwa“, was taken by a police patrol to the Notre Dame Hospital of Petit-Goâve.
Approximately at the same time, Brignol Lindor – a journalist, lawyer and teacher – and Emmanuel Espoir Clédanor were heading to Miragoâne, aboard a blue Montero Jeep, license plate # TZ8533. Upon arriving in Acul, a village situated five (5) km from Petit-Goâve, the jeep was attacked by a group of individuals from “Dòmi nan Bwa“, a Popular Organisation affiliated with the Lavalas party. Emmanuel Espoir Clédanor managed to flee and escape injury. In order to protect himself, Brignol Lindor had to take refuge at the house of Mr. Zéphir Pétuel, President of the Assembly of the Communal Section (ASEC) of the First Plain and member of Popular Organization “Dòmi nan Bwa“. Unfortunately, Mr. Brignol was forced to surrender and was lynched.
THE SUBSEQUENT FACTS
On Thursday 13 December 2001, a group of individuals tried to surround the City Hall of Petit-Goâve by throwing stones and firing shots at the police officers. The police responded and bystander Wilson Belval was hit in the head with a stray bullet. Taken to the Notre Dame Hospital of Petit-Goâve, his condition was judged to be severe enough to transport him to Port-au-Prince.
The same day, Petit-Goâve police officers arrested and proceeded to beat Daniel Sincère. The latter was accused of having used his car to transport armed men who had allegedly shot at a police patrol and erected barricades on National Route Nr 2.
On 17 December 2001, Petit-Goâve woke up in a state of agitation following the news of the assault on the National Palace by a group of heavily armed men. The members of Popular Organizations affiliated to Lavalas set fire to the offices of the Democratic Convergence in Port-au-Prince, as well as to the offices of certain other political parties that are members of the Convergence. In retaliation, the pro-Convergence organisations furiously gained the streets of Petit-Goâve, built barricades and burnt down the house of Mr. Emmanuel Antoine, Mayor of Petit-Goâve. In return, members of Lavalas Popular Organizations set fire to the house of Mr. Déus Jean François and the escalation further continued. The results: between fourteen (14) and eighteen (18) homes were set on fire on both sides. Although the police were informed that day, they excelled once more in their absence.
On 17 December 2001, at the corner of the Rue Desvignes and the Rue Leconte, a group of people claiming to be Lavalas supporters attacked the partisans of the Democratic Convergence. An exchange of automatic fire ensued. Ricardo Nelson, 17 years old, was at home, at number 96 of the Rue Leconte, when he was hit with a bullet in his right leg. Given the climate of tension and unrest in Petit-Goâve, the parents of the victim were afraid to go alone to the hospital. They went to the police station to request police assistance, but the police officers categorically refused to accompany them. Despite the refusal of the police, Ricardo and his parents went to the Notre Dame hospital of Petit-Goâve, but not a single doctor was present. They then went to the residence of the Cuban doctors, who provided the medical care the victim needed.
On 18 December 2001, one Brunel Cadet received a bullet in his back and died on the spot in Morne Soldat, a commune of Petit-Goâve. The police accused him of having erected barricades on the National Route Nr 2.
SUMMARY OF THE DECLARATIONS MADE BY INDIVIDUALS INTERVIEWED
Mr. Pétuel Zéphir, President of the Assembly of the Communal Section of the First Plain and Member of the OP “Dòmi nan Bwa“:
Mr. Zéphir is a member of the Assembly of the Communal Section of the First Plain. According to certain rumours, he handed over Brignol to his attackers, but he can nevertheless prove his absence from Acul on 3 December. He showed the delegation a statement from the Port-au-Prince TELECO office, as well as a CAM transfer statement, both of them indicating transactions that were carried out by him on 3 December. The news of Mr. Brignol Lindor’s assassination reached him through friends whose names he did not wish to reveal.
Mr. Zéphir Pétuel says that he then learned that the Assistant State Prosecutor, Mr. Dumerzier Bellande, had issued a subpoena against him. He went to present himself at the State Prosecutor’s Office with the above-mentioned evidence and the Assistant State Prosecutor, Mr. Dumerzier Bellande, after having heard him, asked the police to stay the execution of the subpoena.
Mr. Joseph Céus Duverger, Security guard for the National Port Authority (APN), fouding member of OP “Dòmi nan Bwa“:
Mr. Joseph Céus Duverger acknowledged that he is a security guard for the National Port Authority (APN) of Petit-Goâve. He was on duty the 2nd and 3rdof December 2001. On 3 December 2001, he left his position at around 11 am to go to Mr. Arsène Simon, owner of the « Villa Notre Dame » morgue, in order to arrange the funeral of his mother-in-law. On his way, he encountered a group of demonstrators who claimed to be supporters of the Democratic Convergence. Upon seeing him, they cried out: “A Lavalas man” (“Men yon Lavalas”) and blew a “lambi” (conch). Attacked with stones, he tried to escape and hide in the Rue Geffrard at the place of Fritzner, also known as “Ti Paille”. There he was caught, tortured and left for dead. A police patrol of the city’s station transported him to the Notre Dame hospital to receive the medical care he needed.
Mr. Frantz Doudoute, advisor to the OP “Dòmi nan Bwa“:
On Monday 3 December 2001, Mr. Frantz Doudoute entered Petit-Goâve at approximately 8:30am with the goal of purchasing some repair parts for his bicycle. Close to the Haitian Electricity Company (EDH) site he met up with five (5) members of the Democratic Convergence. They uttered death threats against him. After making his purchases, he went to the house of his cousin Wawa Toussaint, close to the old Préfecture in the Rue Lamarre. There he was attacked by four (4) thugs who were loitering in the gallery of the Democratic Convergence’s office in the same street. It was the intervention of his cousin Wawa that saved his life. Between 11 and 12 he went back home via the Curtis Bridge, where he learned about the assassination of Mr. Joseph Céus Duverger, also known as “Pètèt”, injured by stones and machete blows from supporters of the Democratic Convergence. He had also seen Brignol Lindor go by on board of a blue Montero jeep and accompanied by a driver.
Some minutes later he hears about the death of Brignol Lindor, assassinated in retaliation for the attempted murder of Joseph Céus Duverger, originally from Acul, a small commune five (5) kilometers south of the city of Petit-Goâve.
Mr. Emmanuel Espoir Cledanor, driver of Brignol Lindor’s car just prior to his assassination:
Mr. Emmanuel Clédanor had picked up Brignol Lindor at the Caribbean Secondary Center, opposite the Lycée Faustin Soulouque, where he gave a course in Social Sciences. Brignol got into the blue Montero jeep with license plate # TZ 8533, in order to go to Acul; they were attacked by people who claimed to be members of the Popular Organization “Dòmi nan Bwa“. Clédanor got blocked and fled the vehicle. He allegedly survived by escaping via some marshland with the help of a local. Brignol himself tried to escape his attackers by seeking refuge at the house of an elected representative of the zone. Clédanor claims that he only heard about Brignol’s death upon arriving in Petit-Goâve.
Mr. Arbrun Alézi, Owner and director of Radio Echo 2000 in Petit-Goâve:
Mr. Alézi declares that Brignol Lindor was Director of the Newsroom at RADIO ÉCHO 2000. He also presented the debating program “Dialogue” every Wednesday between 8 and 10 pm. After his last broadcast on 28 November 2001, with Déus Jean François, Frantz Sagaille and Panoski Roger as his guests, he was seriously threatened by the local authorities.
Seventy-two (72) hours after Dumay Bony, spokesman; Emmanuel Antoine, Mayor ; Cimerès Bolière, Member of the City Council ; Jean Willio Manéus, Director of Téléco ; Robenson Desrossiers, Director of Customs ; Fritznel Poussin, Director of Social Affairs in Petit-Goâve and Raymond Jean Fleury, Coordinator of Popular Organization “Dòmi nan Bwa“, had demanded the application of “zero tolerance” against Brignol Lindor, the latter was coldly assassinated with hatchets and machetes in Acul, a commune five (5) kilometres south of the city of Petit-Goâve.
One should point out that RADIO ÉCHO 2000 has timidly resumed its activities, but that the newsroom is still not operational.
Mr. Moréno Lindor, younger brother of journalist Brignol Lindor:
Brignol Lindor was seriously threatened by the local authorities. On 30 November 2001, Assistant Mayor Dumey Bony demanded during a press conference the application of “zero tolerance” vis-à-vis certain people – his brother Brignol Lindor was one of them. Three (3) days later, Brignol was heinously assassinated by members of the Popular Organization “Domi nan Bwa“, which is linked to the Fanmi Lavalas party.
He states that the crime had been planned. At first, there was the news that Brignol Lindor would have suffered serious injuries. He hurried to the police station of Petit-Goâve to ask the police officers to go and save his brother whose life was in danger. The police officers told him that his brother Brignol was at the Notre Dame hospital. After hearing this, he went there, but came to the conclusion that Brignol was not there.
He went again to the police station. The police officers present refused categorically to accompany him to the place where his brother had been attacked. Some minutes later he learned that his brother had died on the spot. He then went to the funeral chapel Villa Notre Dame, owned by Arsène Jean Simon, to have the body transported to the morgue.
Government officials offered several deals to his parents after the death of Brignol, but they rejected them all. They lodged a complaint in search of justice.
Mr. Alix Alexandre, former Police Commissioner of Petit-Goâve:
Since his arrival in March 2001 as head of the Police station of Petit-Goâve, he met with all sectors of the city and asked their cooperation for a safe Petit-Goâve.
However, the scheming of certain individuals had been hampering the functioning of the schools for almost three weeks. The police identified some of them, such as Mactialy, and “Ti Kenley”. These individuals enjoyed the support of a large part of Petit-Goâve’s population.
On Monday 3 December 2001, the police dispersed an attempted demonstration. The above-mentioned individuals had mixed with the students of the Lycée Faustin Soulouque and had thrown stones in the direction of the police. The police chose to withdraw in order to avoid the confrontation that was so much wanted by these people. “They would have said in Petit-Goâve that the police shot at students and demonstrators. We did not respond to that provocation,” («Yo ta va di nan Tigwav polisye tire sou elèv ak sou manifestan. Nou pa t pran nan provokasyon sa a ») declared Commissioner Alix Alexandre.
Commissioner Alix Alexandre states that the same day, when he was leading a patrol on National Route 2 in order to remove the barricades that had been erected by the locals, he was informed that a security agent of the National Port Authorities (APN) had been violently attacked and received machete blows. Following this, the commissioner and his men went over and transported the victim, Joseph Céus Duverger, also known as “Petèt”, to the Notre Dame hospital.
Commissioner Alexandre states that at around 3 pm the parents of Brignol Lindor, accompanied by the incumbent Justice of the Peace of the Peace Tribunal of Petit-Goâve, Mr. Lenor Julien, came to the station. They asked the police officers to accompany them to draft a certified report on the dead body in Acul and to transport it then to the morgue. Informed over the radio, Commissioner Alix let them know that he was accompanied by the Assistant State Prosecutor of the Civil Tribunal of Petit-Goâve, Justice Bellande Dumerzier, and that they were already on their way. However, slowed down by the barricades on National Road Nr 2, the parents had already taken the corpse away when they arrived at the crime scene. Since then, and in cooperation with the Judiciary, the police have been working to arrest the guilty.
THE PROGRESS OF THE CASE
Justice Bellande Dumerzier, Assistant State Prosecutor of the First Instance Court of Petit-Goâve:
Justice Bellande Dumerzier, whom NCHR met in the context of the case of journalist Brignol Lindor on 8 January 2002, has declared the following:
The Public Prosecutor’s Department of Petit-Goâve has already issued some twenty (20) subpoenas and summons;
As for the subpoenas, none of them has been executed. In terms of witnesses, the Public Prosecutor has heard two of them, Love Augustin and Emmanuel Espoir Clédanor;
The case of Journalist Brignol Lindor will be handed to the Office of the Investigating Magistrate on 8 January 2002 for further legal action.
During another encounter on 21 January 2002, Justice Bellande Dumerzier declared with respect to the case of journalist Brignol Lindor the following:
The Public Prosecutor’s Department has taken further action and issued twenty-seven (27) subpoenas: seven (7) against the alleged attackers of Mr Joseph Céus Duverger and twenty (20) against the alleged killers of journalist Brignol Lindor. With respect to the execution of these subpoenas, the police have shown to be really powerless. Only two (2) arrests have been made: Fritz Hypollite (Ti Florian) in the case of Brignol Lindor and Dady Ostimé (Ti Kenley) in the case of Joseph Céus Duverger.
The Public Prosecutor’s Department has already seized the Office of the Investigating Magistrate. Justice Fritzner Duclair is the Investigating Magistrate for the case of Brignol Lindor and justice Alex Clédanor is working on the case of Joseph Céus Duverger.
The Assistant State Prosecutor specified that a certified report with respect to the corpse at the crime scene has not been drafted, as the parents of Brignol Lindor had had the time to collect the dead body before the Judiciary could intervene and draft a certified report. However, he did go to the morgue where the corpse could be found for the usual formalities.
Asked about the arrests that would have been made by the police without the knowledge of the Judiciary, the Assistant State Prosecutor answered: several arrests have been made by the police without warrants, and most arrested individuals have been beaten and badly treated, for example: Thony Hector, Ronald Lindor, Yves Jolly Fils, etc. The police do not respect the timeframe granted by the law, which stipulates: “No one can be held in detention if he has not appeared within forty-eight (48) hours following his arrest before a judge who judges the legality of the arrest and confirms the detention by a motivated decision.” (Article 26 of the Constitution in force)
Finally, the Assistant State Prosecutor also says to have been threatened by a member of the popular organization “Dòmi nan Bwa”, called Joubert.
Justice Fritzner Duclair, Investigating Magistrate in charge of the murder case of Lindor:
Justice Fritzner Duclair, whom NCHR met with on 18 February in order to inquire about the progress of the case, has declared:
That the case of the murder of journalist Brignol Lindor has been referred to him by the Public Prosecutor’s Department. He has already heard more than ten (10) people but prefers not to say more not to breach the confidence of the inquiry.
During a second meeting on 22 March 2002, he says to have heard some thirty (30) individuals, of which two (2) prisoners. He added that he was finalizing his inquiry and that before the beginning of April 2002, the case would be passed on to the Public Prosecutor’s Department.
The National Coalition for Haitian Rights (NCHR) believes that the brutal assassination of journalist Brignol Lindor in Acul on 3 December 2001was not an accident. This heinous crime had been planned. The authors, co-authors, accomplices and those who have benefited from this crime, wanted it to happen. The declarations made on 28 November 2001 by the Vice-Mayor of Petit-Goâve, Mister Dumay Bony, witness to that.
NCHR notes that the following people were present during the press conference: Emmanuel Antoine, Mayor; Cimerès Bolière, Member of the Municipal Council; Jean Willio Manéus, Director of Téléco; Robenson Desrosiers, Director of Customs; Fritznel Poussin, Director of Social Affairs in Petit-Goâve and Raymond Jean Fleury, Coordinator of Popular Organization “Dòmi nan Bwa“.
NCHR wonders about the combined presence of local authorities and Mr. Raymond Jean Fleury, the coordinator of Popular Organization “Dòmi nan Bwa“, which claimed responsibility for the crime without mincing words.
Did not the members of “Dòmi nan Bwa” execute the orders that were issued by their coordinator, when they killed Brignol Lindor?
Why did those in power try to downplay such a crime by declaring through the Minister of Communication and Culture, Mr. Guy Paul, that Brignol Lindor had not been killed as a journalist but as a member of the Democratic Convergence? Which law allows the authorities to physically eliminate their opponents?
Moreover, the events in Petit-Goâve show clearly that not only the authorities and their partisans, but also opposition groups are especially in Petit-Goâve involved in acts of violence. The physical aggression against Joseph Céus Duverger eloquently witnesses to that. Some sort of apartheid is dangerously being installed in Petit-Goâve. It is important to stop this tendency as soon as possible.
The tragic events that occurred in Petit-Goâve on 3 December 2001 have been a violation of the rights that are determined by:
The Haitian Constitution of 1987 and its articles 19 and 28.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and its article 2.
The International Covenant on Civil and Political rights and its articles 6 and 7.
The Haitian Constitution of 1987:
Article 19: “The State has the compelling obligation to guarantee the Right to Life, to Health and to Respect of the Human Person, for all Citizens without distinction, in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.“
Article 28: “All Haitians have the right to freely express their opinions, with respect to all matters, and through the means they choose.“
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights:
Article 3: “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.“
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights:
Article 6: “Every human being has the inherent right to life. This right shall be protected by law. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life.” Article 7: “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.“
The mission of NCHR consists of defending unambiguously the fundamental rights and individual liberties of all citizens without any distinction. As such, NCHR considers it its task to blow the whistle in order to bring the constituted authorities to take the necessary measures to avoid any repetition of such acts which cannot but tarnish the image of the country.
Therefore, NCHR believes it useful to provide the following recommendations to the three powers of the State:
Arrest and try all persons involved in the attempted murder of Joseph Céus Duverger and the assassination of Brignol Lindor.
Disarm the present armed groups (Lavalas and the Convergence) without political consideration.
Establish a climate of peace allowing the different sectors of Petit-Goâve to resume their civil activities.
See to it that the state institutions are not at the service of one person or a group of persons, but rather at the service of the entire population.
See to it that the police are effectively the auxiliary of the Judiciary, in accordance with the Constitution and the laws of the Republic.
Avoid that political considerations hinder the investigation of the events of 3 December 2001 and guarantee that the Investigating Magistrates can do their work in all independence.