Women, Children Subjected to Hood Treatment
At 12:30 in the morning of May 10, approximately 20 U.S. Marines executed a military assault on the Port-au-Prince home of 69-year-old Annette Auguste, a.k.a. Souer Anne. Auguste’s residence is part of a compound that includes four other apartments that were also invaded by the U.S. military forces. The troops covered the heads of 11 Haitians with black hoods and then forced them to lay face down on the ground while binding their wrists with plastic manacles behind their backs. The victims of this terrifying U.S. military invasion included five-year-old Chamyr Samedi, 10-year-old Kerlande Philippe, 12-year-old Loubahida Augustine, 14-year-old Luckman Augustine, and seven adults.
The Marines blew up a vehicle and a substantial part of Auguste’s three-story house, leaving behind c4 and c5 explosives paraphernalia including blasting caps and igniters. Not a single member of the Haitian National Police force (PNH) or the de facto Haitian government was present when the U.S. forces attacked the residence, said the arrestees.
All the detainees except Auguste were released after questioning.
According to Haitian law, as is the norm in any democratic country, no arrest can be made without a proper warrant issued by judicial authorities. The Haitian Constitution requires that warrants only be executed between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. The lack of any legality within the context of Haitian law and the fact this was executed unilaterally by U.S. military forces raises serious questions of national sovereignty and the role of the U.S. military in Haiti today.
Lesly Voltaire, one of the highest ranking Lavalas officials remaining in Haiti, has consistently condemned the campaign of political persecution and arbitrary arrests against his political party. Voltaire stated:
"This was an illegal arrest done past midnight. The law does not allow arrests after 6:00 p.m. I strongly condemn this armed assault and believe that the charges against Annette Auguste are unfounded. We are fighting for due process and this was not performed within the context of due process and Haitian law. This is clearly a part of the campaign of persecution against Lavalas. No Haitian police or authorities were present. We must ask what are the rules of engagement for U.S. military authorities in Haiti and what right do they have to do this? Is Haiti still a sovereign nation?"
Ms. Auguste is being held incommunicado at a U.S. military-controlled "special section" of the National Penitentiary in Port-au-Prince. Although the National Coalition for Haitian Rights (NCHR) claims to have visited her at the prison, this is disputed by her husband, Wilfrid Lavaud, who says the family has no knowledge of any such visit by the New York-based agency. Lavaud also said that he does not consider NCHR to be a credible human rights organization because they have worked so closely in the past with the Haitian opposition to the constitutional government of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
NCHR played a significant role in the media disinformation campaign that preceded the coup against President Aristide (see, October 30, 2003
International journalists have been denied access to Ms. August. Spokesmen for Gerard Latortue's government claim they are "too busy" to respond to requests to see the prisoner. Full Article