Son Excellence René Préval
Président de la République d’ Haïti
December 2, 2008
Dear President René Préval:
Ronald Dauphin, a Lavalas activist, was arrested by armed paramilitary troops on March 1, 2004 - the day after US officials forced President Aristide into exile. Mr. Dauphin has spent over four and a half years in jail without having been convicted of any crime. For the past three years his case has been stuck in legal limbo, with no progress or active investigation, despite many habeas corpus petitions brought in front of Mr. Ramon Guillaume, Chief Judge of the Court of St. Marc.
Mr. Dauphin is the last detainee held for the so-called “La Scierie massacre.” No one has ever been convicted, or even tried, in connection with the La Scierie incident. Most defendants have had their charges ordered dismissed by courts. Human rights groups and the UN have concluded that the incident never happened as alleged by the plaintiffs in the case.
In August 2006, Amnesty International called on Haiti’s government to promptly bring to trial or release all political prisoners, condemning the prolonged detention of Lavalas activists as politically motivated. In October 2006, the National Lawyers Guild urged the Haitian government to release the remaining political prisoners detained by the Interim Government of Haiti (2004-2006), with particular emphasis on the defendants held in the La Scierie case.
In May 2008, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) ruled that the State of Haiti had violated 11 provisions of the American Convention on Human Rights in its pursuit of former Prime Minister Neptune in the La Scierie case. Mr. Neptune was held without trial for over two years with no proof he committed a crime. He was provisionally released in 2006, as were other defendants in the case, Amanus Maette and Jocelerme Privert. But Ronald Dauphin remains in prison, and has now spent twice as much time behind bars as any other La Scierie defendant.
The IACHR has declared conditions in Haiti’s overcrowded prisons inhumane. Without adequate food, clean water, sanitation and medical attention, Dauphin’s detention amounts to a death sentence, particularly because he is in ill health. In fact, Wantales Lormejuste, another activist imprisoned for the La Scierie case, died in prison in February 2007, two months before an order granting his release was issued.
For these reasons, we the undersigned organizations call for the immediate release of Mr. Dauphin. We urge you to drop all charges, provide immediate medical treatment, and offer reparations to Mr. Dauphin for his unjust and illegal detention.
Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter.
Act against Torture
Act Now to Stop War and End Racism-Coalition, Western Region
African American Studies Department – Merritt College
All African People’s Revolutionary Party
All African Women’s Revolutionary Union
Alliance for Global Justice
Association for the Study of Classical African Civilizations
Bay Area Code Pink
Black Student Union – Merritt College
California Prison Focus
Campaign for Labor Rights
East Bay Sanctuary Covenant
East Timor Action Network – Madison, WI
Ecumenical Peace Institute
Foundations for Our New Afrikan Millennium
The FTP Movement/Nappy Tongue Vanguard
Global Women’s Strike
Haiti Action Committee
Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network
Hastings to Haiti
Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti
INTERCONNECT - Peter Mott, MD and Gail Mott, Co-Editors
International Action Center
International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban Five
Malcolm X Grassroots Movement
Marin Interfaith Task Force on the Americas
National Lawyers’ Guild Haiti Committee
National Immigrant Solidarity Network
Nicaragua Center for Community Action
Out of Control Lesbian Committee to Support Women Political Prisoners
PayDay Men’s Network
Peace NO War Network
Peninsula Peace and Justice Center
Portland Peaceful Response Coalition
Revolutionary Ancestral Wombyn Justice 4We International
San Francisco 8 Committee
San Francisco Bay Area Jubilee Coalition
San Francisco Bayview National Black Newspaper
US-El Salvador Sister Cities
Venezuela Solidarity Network
War Resisters League
Women of Colour in the Global Women’s Strike
Prime Minister Michèle Pierre-Louis
Minister of Justice Jean-Joseph Exumé
Chief Judge Mr. Ramon Guillaume