UN Human Rights Council urged to renew mandate of rapporteur on Iran

first_img News News March 18, 2021 Find out more Iran: Press freedom violations recounted in real time January 2020 News RSF_en IranMiddle East – North Africa Help by sharing this information Organisation Receive email alerts Iran is stepping up pressure on journalists, including foreign journalists, in run-up to electioncenter_img March 19, 2012 – Updated on January 20, 2016 UN Human Rights Council urged to renew mandate of rapporteur on Iran Call for Iranian New Year pardons for Iran’s 21 imprisoned journalists June 11, 2021 Find out more News to go further June 9, 2021 Find out more Reporters Without Borders is one of the signatories of a letter by human rights organizations urging the United Nations Human Rights Council to renew the mandate of the Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran. The council is due to vote on the renewal of his mandate this week.March 16, 2012Re: Joint Letter Urging Support for the Mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Islamic Republic of IranTo the member states of the United Nations Human Rights Council:As you know, the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Iran is currently up for renewal and will be put to a vote before the Human Rights Council on March 21st or 22nd. At a time when the human rights situation in Iran has deteriorated significantly and Iran continues to refuse to cooperate with UN bodies, it is critical for member states to voice their support for the mandate’s renewal.We write to urge you to vote in favor of the resolution renewing the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran.On March 7, the Special Rapporteur on human rights in Iran, Dr. Ahmed Shaheed, released his second report documenting rights violations in the country. The report, which followed an interim report he submitted on September 23, 2011, documented a “striking pattern of violations” committed by Iranian authorities and outlined the government’s continuing refusal to cooperate with UN bodies. It also noted, with regret, the government’s failure to address the Special Rapporteur’s request for a country visit, and the refusal of authorities to cooperate with the UN Human Rights Council and its mechanisms, despite its issuance of standing invitations to special procedures in 2002.Iranian authorities, while refusing cooperation with the country mandate, are keenly sensitive to its observations and criticisms. In February, the head of Iran’s judiciary, Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani, said the report was full of lies, yet his government provided no substantive comments or factual information to supplement the report prior to its release. Since then, Iran has desperately attempted to paint a picture of cooperation and compliance with UN bodies and human rights instruments.The government’s March 5, 2012 statement on the report of the Special Rapporteur on Torture claimed that Iran has taken action to prevent acts of torture, noting that victims are accorded legal protection. Regrettably such assertions fly in the face of what scores of former detainees have told our organizations, and the Special Rapporteur on Iran, regarding their experiences in detention at the hands of Iranian security officials.Responding on March 13, 2012 to the presentation of Dr. Shaheed’s report, the head of Iran’s High Council for Human Rights, Dr. Mohammad Javad Larijani, emphatically re-invited UN thematic human rights mechanisms to Iran, yet failed to suggest any specific dates. Despite the ‘standing invitation’ made in 2002 and numerous requests for visits by special rapporteurs, none have visited the country since 2005, and almost none of the recommendations made by rapporteurs who visited before that have been acted upon.During the past few months Iran also submitted to a review of its rights record before the UN’s Human Rights Committee after a 17 year absence, made cosmetic changes to its penal code, which it purports to bring in line with its international obligations, and agreed to allow staff from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to undertake a limited mission to Tehran last December.The reality remains, however, that Iran’s efforts to demonstrate an improvement in its rights record have not led to substantive improvements in remedying what continues to be a deplorable human rights situation. Since the creation of the country mandate, there has been a steady increase of resolutions, reports, and observations by UN bodies regarding the rights crisis in Iran. On September 15, 2011, the UN secretary-general submitted a report to the UN General Assembly in which he said he was “deeply troubled by reports of increased numbers of executions, amputations, arbitrary arrest and detention, unfair trials, torture and ill-treatment” and bemoaned “the crackdown on human rights activists, lawyers, journalists and opposition activists.”On November 3, 2011 the UN Human Rights Committee issued its concluding observations following its review of Iran’s implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. They amounted to a damning indictment of Iran’s rights record, including serious concerns about the high rate of executions, including for crimes which do not meet the criteria of “most serious crime”, the “widespread use of torture,” and impunity. The committee also expressed serious doubts regarding the willingness of the government to abide by its international legal obligations. The same month, the UN General Assembly’s Third Committee passed a resolution, by the highest vote count since 1992, calling on the Iranian government to allow the special rapporteur unfettered access to the country.The Special Rapporteur’s report is based in part on testimony gathered from more than 100 victims and their families, and information provided to him by reliable sources. It is a testament to the fact that despite the Iranian government’s refusal to allow the Special Rapporteur to visit the country, the Special Rapporteur has and will continue to fulfill his mandate by engaging with victims and Iranian civil society actors.The report paints a bleak picture of the state of human rights in Iran today. In the past year authorities may have executed more than 600 prisoners, many of them on drug-related charges which do not constitute “serious crimes” under international law, and hanged at least three juveniles—one of them in public—despite the strict prohibition on such executions in international law. Consensual same-sex relations are criminalized and subject to the harshest penalties, including death, under Iran’s penal code. Iran continues to be one of the largest prisons for journalists and bloggers in the world, with at least 45 in detention as of December 2011, according to Reporters Without Borders. Discrimination against religious and ethnic minorities, including Baha’is and Arabs, is systematic, and officials have intensified their targeting of lawyers handling human rights cases. At least nine lawyers are currently in prison, and several others are awaiting their trials or the results of their appeals. Others, including Nobel Peace laureate Shirin Ebadi, currently work outside Iran because they are unable to freely carry out their professional duties inside the country.The country mandate has mobilized, in an unprecedented manner, Iranians both inside and outside the country, to engage with the international community. In meeting after meeting, victims and activists have told us that they see the office of the Special Rapporteur as a critical focal point for documenting rights abuses, and an impartial and reliable channel of communication between victims and the United Nations and its member states. In this regard, the Special Rapporteur fulfills an important role for Iranian survivors of human rights violations which is denied to them in Iran.We believe the continuation of a country mandate for Iran is critical to allow Iranians to engage with the international community, put pressure on the Iranian government to comply with its international rights obligations, and allow international human rights bodies and mechanisms to monitor the rights situation in the country.We hope you and your colleagues agree, and urge you to vote to support the mandate’s renewal during the upcoming vote in Geneva.Sincerely,African Center for Human Rights and DemocracyAfrican Democracy ForumAmnesty InternationalAsian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)Asian Legal Resource CentreBahai International CommunityCommonwealth Human Rights InitiativeConectas Direitos HumanosCairo Institute for Human Rights StudiesEast and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders ProjectEgyptian Initiative for Personal RightsHuman Rights WatchInternational Campaign for Human Rights in IranInternational Federation for Human RightsInternational Service for Human RightsIranian League for the Defence of Human RightsPartnership for Justice – NigeriaReporters without BordersUnited4IranWest African Human Rights Defenders Network Follow the news on Iran IranMiddle East – North Africa last_img read more

Zero tolerance for the media : an enquiry into the murder of journalist Brignol Lindor

first_img September 10, 2002 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Zero tolerance for the media : an enquiry into the murder of journalist Brignol Lindor Questions also arise about Aristide’s “personal” gift of a jeep to Judge Duclair to “help” him in his investigation. Was this genuine help or an attempt to quietly corrupt him in a matter involving Lavalas government supporters? The few arrests among the presumed killers and the effective clearing of the instigators are preliminary answers to these questions until the judge’s report appears.The gift of the jeep highlights the lack of independence of the judiciary from the executive branch in the Haitian system. Investigating judges, theoretically independent, rely for advancement on the country’s president, who appoints them to three-year terms. This prerogative was included in the 1987 national constitution to establish a judge’s authority independently of political parties and government officials. The judge’s power comes only from the head of state, to whom the Constitution only gives a role of referee, since executive power is officially only exercised by the prime minister, who is appointed by a majority in Parliament. In reality, the Constitution is abused and all real power is held by the president, as is the tradition in Haiti.A plot against Lindor?The family and friends of Lindor accuse the government and its local agents of having deliberately instigated his murder. This view appears to have been rejected by both the prosecutor and the investigating judge and the Reporters Without Borders / Damocles team was not able to find any clear evidence to support this theory.Some say Lindor’s movements could not be foreseen, which weakens the theory of a plot, even though, Lindor’s friends say, one of his colleagues at the customs office could have alerted the killers that he was coming, by going ahead of him on a bicycle. What happened to Love Augustin however suggests the attackers were set on killing whoever came their way and that they were not expecting Lindor. The evidence of Augustin and Clédanor, the only direct witnesses, and the statements of Duvergé however show a clear link between Bony’s explicit order and the killing.The murder seems to have been a genuine lynching, a form of summary justice common in Haiti, linked to a Haitian phenomenon known as a “kouri” (running), a kind of crowd panic or reaction in which unthinking action cannot be prevented. This “kouri,” provoked by the Domi Nan Bwa militants, occurred using the only weapons that rural Haitians usually have to hand – machetes, axes, picks (used to clear a field of pebbles), hoes and also stones. The killers also seem to have tried to burn the body (the burns on both legs), to turn the crime into a “necklacing.” It seems significant that no firearms were used. This too suggests that Lindor’s murder was not planned.Conclusions and recommendationsThe investigation by Reporters Without Borders and the Damocles Network shows that, beyond the chronic lack of resources of the Haitian police and justice system, the local enquiry into Lindor’s death has serious deficiencies. Among these are the absence of any on-the-spot investigation by the judge or the police, the failure by police to execute arrest warrants issued against murder suspects still walking around freely and the judge’s lack of energy in hearing witnesses. The slim results of the local enquiry are all the more shocking because Haitians as a whole, as well as the outside world, were appalled by this macabre killing and have demanded the punishment of those who did it.The decision of the investigators not to pursue the people who attended the 30 November press conference shows a bias when, according to observers we spoke to, the remarks of Dumay Bony were a clear invitation to murder. The judge’s attitude in this only strengthens the suspicion of corruption suggested by President Aristide’s gift of a jeep. The lack of punishment of most of the instigators by their government employers also confirms this is a flagrant example of impunity extended by the government to its over-zealous supporters.So nine months after the murder of Brignol Lindor, those who killed him and those who encouraged his murder have hardly been touched, even though the killers immediately admitted their deed and the instigators made an open call for him to be killed. The murder was in fact the culmination of a string of threats and physical attacks against journalists by declared supporters of the government. It is part of a wider strategy by the authorities to make use of para-legal militias to intimidate the media. The closeness ties between the government and the grassroots organisations is such that Hendel Carré, spokesman for President Aristide, was recently forced to point out that statements by these organisations were not official statements.Was it a premeditated act or a dangerous attitude that got out of hand? Whatever the truth, as in the earlier murder of radio journalist Jean Dominique, the serious irregularities that have marred the local enquiry into Brignol Lindor’s death suggest that state institutions are protecting those who killed him. This conclusion is reinforced by the absence of any clear condemnation by the authorities, especially President Aristide, of the public lynchings carried out as part of applying “zero tolerance.” Apart from the serious attack on press freedom that this crime represents, what is shown up is the whole policy of “zero tolerance” and the legitimisation of summary executions carried out by the population or para-legal groups. RSF_en Receive email alerts October 11, 2019 Find out more News News Reports Reporters Without Borders and the Damocles Network call on:Judge Fritzer Duclair:- To investigate the attempt at bribery reported by a resident of Petit-Goâve and which the two above organisations have informed him of.- To investigate the suspected involvement of Collin Bélony, Bernard Desama and Tirésias in the death of Brignol Lindor, as revealed by the same resident.- To investigate the responsibility of those at the 30 November press conference and prosecute them for “incitement to murder.”The prison authorities:- To agree to Judge Duclair’s request to transfer Maxi Zéphyr from the central prison to the jail in Petit-Goâve so that he can be heard by the judge in connection with his presumed involvement in the killing.The police:- To execute as quickly as possible the arrest warrants against the presumed killers.- To launch an internal enquiry about the attitude of the Petit-Goâve police station in the hours after the murder.President Jean-Bertrand Aristide:- To explicitly condemn all public lynchings and to state clearly that the policy of “zero tolerance” is strictly subject to the limits of the law.The European Union and the US Congress:- To take individual sanctions against those Haitian officials who, by their action or inaction, are obstructing the enquiry into the murder.In the light of the data gathered during this investigation, those officials are:Jean-Bertrand Aristide, President of Haiti ; Yvon Neptune, Prime minister ; Jean-Baptiste Brown, Minister of justice and public security ; Jeannot François, Director of the police investigations departmentThe personally-targeted sanctions requested are the refusal of entry and transit visas for European Union countries and the United States for the persons named and their families, as well as the freezing of any foreign bank accounts they have.Such measures are appropriate because the impunity prevailing in this murder case is part of a strategy by the authorities to silence journalists deemed over-critical of the government. Reporters Without Borders and the Damocles Network have already called for similar sanctions against other Haitian officials who, by their action or inaction, are obstructing the enquiry into the murder of journalist Jean Dominique.Reporters Without Borders and the Damocles Network are considering filing a complaint before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights denouncing the impunity enjoyed by those who killed Brignol Lindor. HaïtiAmericas Another journalist murdered in Haiti November 14, 2019 Find out more to go further Follow the news on Haïti HaïtiAmericas Violence against the press in Haiti: RSF and CPJ write to Minister of Justice by Christian Lionet and Calixto AvilaA Reporters Without Borders / Damocles Network investigation in Haiti – September 2002A journalist was beaten to death in the town of Petit-Goâve on 3 December 2001 by a gang of killers with ties to local politicians and President Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s Lavalas (“Avalanche”) movement. The particularly gruesome killing cut down Brignol Lindor, an intelligent, able and cultivated young man of 31 who kept apart from squabbling factions. Many saw him as the “future” of this deprived town where he was born, 70 kms southwest of Port-au-Prince.The murder happened at a time when press freedom in Haiti was steadily deteriorating in the wake of the killing of Jean Dominique, head of the radio station Haiti-Inter, on 3 April the previous year. Between January and November 2001, at least 16 journalists were threatened or physically attacked, mostly by police or self-styled militants of Fanmi Lavalas (Lavalas Family – FL), Aristide’s political party, who justified their actions by accusing the media of playing into the hands of the opposition by criticising the government. The lack of any investigation into these abuses and the many obstacles encountered in the enquiry into Dominique’s murder show that those responsible are protected by the authorities.In this atmosphere, the killing of Lindor was seen by the entire media as a new warning. During the alleged coup attempt of 17 December last year, since dismissed as bogus by the Organisation of American States (OAS), many journalists were targeted by government supporters. Fearing they would meet the same fate as Lindor, more than a dozen decided to leave the country. Others have since followed.Today, the progress of the investigations of the two murders is being closely watched by the media, who are waiting for their attackers to be reined in. But nine months after Lindor’s death, only four of his 20 attackers identified by a range of sources have been arrested. The rest, some well known locally and proud of what they did, have not been touched by the police. The wheels of justice are turning very slowly. The expected trial will not start until next year’s session of the court of assizes and most of the accused will probably be tried in their absence.The investigating judge also seems likely to spare those who seem to have instigated the crime – local officials and members of the Petit-Goâve town council at the time. Most of them are still in office. These officials had called Lindor a “terrorist” and said he should be subjected to “zero tolerance,” a term used several months earlier by Aristide that many Haitian observers saw as a clear invitation to lynch criminals on the spot. The term was used by Lindor’s attackers when they killed him and in remarks made to a Haitian press freedom organisation just two days after the murder.In a country torn by passions and violence, bled white by pervasive corruption and abandoned by the international community, the Lindor affair is a sad and eloquent example of the impunity enjoyed by the agents and accomplices of a multi-faceted authoritarian regime served by autonomous interlocking networks that do what they please. June 11, 2019 Find out more Organisation “Zero tolerance” for the “terrorist” Brignol LindorOn 28 November, five days before his murder, Lindor presented, as he did every Wednesday, his discussion programme “Dialogue” on a local radio station, Echo 2000. To reflect current events, his guests that day were three opposition spokesmen who for two hours called on the population in virulent terms to give strong backing to a national protest strike against the government over the next two days. The stoppage was a success in Petit-Goâve, where most people support the anti-Aristide opposition Democratic Convergence alliance. It was marked by demonstrations, violent clashes between FL and opposition supporters, clashes with police and some shooting.On the morning of 30 November, the local pro-FL authorities reacted with a press conference which, as often in Haiti, resembled a political meeting. Deputy mayor Dumay Bony, one of the three members of the town council, said they were launching an operation to “put an end to disorder.”Bony said he wanted to start a “long-term campaign against troublemakers” and called for a “vigilante squad” to “help legal officials and police to properly implement zero tolerance for all terrorists.” Amid applause and cries of “Aristide or death!” he then read out the names of five local officials he accused of being activists who had infiltrated the town government and against whom he called for “public action” to be taken. Lindor, who also worked at the local customs office, was the second name on the list.On 3 December, the mood in the town was very heated. Opposition supporters staged a demonstration which was swelled by schoolchildren in the late morning. At about 11.30 a.m., police roughly dispersed the crowd. Around midday, according to a report on the situation by the Petit-Goâve Journalists’ Association (AJPEG), two FL militants wounded a Convergence supporter with a machete. At the same time, police fired on a group of demonstrators who had built a burning barricade of old tyres on the main road near the town. As they fled, the demonstrators came across a well-known FL supporter, Joseph Duvergé, leader of a “grassroots organisation” (group of Aristide supporters) called Domi Nan Bwa (“Sleep in the Woods,” or resistance fighters). They stoned him and left him for dead. Police later took him to hospital with serious injuries.Hacked to death with axes and machetesThe same day, at 12.15 p.m., Lindor, who had another job as a teacher, finished giving a social science class at the Caribbean Secondary Centre school in Petit-Goâve. He went to the Toussaint Louverture College, where a friend, journalist and teacher Emmanuel Clédanor, was waiting for him. Clédanor had agree to drive him in his jeep to L’Acul, a village five kms from the town. A jeep was needed to get there because the road was very bad and you could only drive at walking pace.They left at around 12.30 p.m. and passed in front of the customs office. That day he was wearing the shirt, tie and shoes he wore for his job there. They then stopped briefly at a place called Curtis, on the way out of town, for Lindor to chat with someone he knew. The jeep stopped again at a small garage on the edge of the town. A man accosted them, shouting insults, and Lindor asked Clédanor to drive off quickly because he knew the man was a “Lavalas rouge” (fanatical FL supporter).They got to L’Acul at about 1 p.m., to a neighbourhood called Mont Carmel. A hot-headed group of people stopped the jeep. Without turning off the engine, Clédanor got out to talk to them. “What’s going on?” he asked. He recognised members of the Domi Nan Bwa group, including one of his former pupils, Maxi Zéphyr, who told him: “You’ll find out!” and threw a stone at the jeep.Clédanor then saw Lindor run away and take refuge in the nearest house at the side of the road. He himself ran to the other side into a field of sugar cane and peas. He managed to get away, with the help of one of the attackers, called Aboundai.The other assailants focused on Lindor. Various witnesses who spoke later to Haitian journalists and the Reporters Without Borders / Damocles team said the house Lindor fled to belonged to Pétuel Zéphyr Jr (known as Ti Pétuel), a brother of Maxi Zéphyr and a member of the L’Acul local assembly (ASEC). But he was immediately thrown out. A man named Fritzler Doudoute then reportedly kicked him to the ground and, according to the AJPEG report, a man known as Ti Simon hit him with an axe.The lynching began, reportedly involving Raymond Désulmé, Sissi Dio, D’or Monal, Joël Jolifils, Saint-Juste Joubert, Bob Toussaint, Lionel Doudoute, Ti Florian, Jean-Raymond Flory and Sedner Sainvilus (known as Ti Lapli). The last four, as well as Ti Pétuel, denied they were present. A man called Tirésias then appears to have stabbed Lindor with a pick, as did Colbert Ambalane. A third man, Bernard Desama, is said to have thrown a stone at his head. Lindor, who was perhaps dead by then, was burned on the legs, above the knee. His body was dragged into a field and left lying face down in a puddle of water.The attackers returned soon afterwards to burn the jeep. A witness the Reporters Without Borders / Damocles team spoke to, who asked to remain anonymous, said a man called Collin Bélony was involved in this. The witness said Bélony showed up after Lindor had been killed but was told to go and get a can of petrol from a shop on the main road about a kilometre away. He said Fritz Doudoute, the brother of Fritzler and Lionel Doudoute, then used the petrol to set fire to the jeep.Police inactionWhen he got home, Clédanor called the police. But the person who answered twice hung up on him. News of the attack quickly reached the town via people arriving from nearby Miragoâne who had been diverted through L’Acul because the main road was blocked by demonstrators’ barricades. Lindor’s younger brother Moreno learned of the attack at about 1.30 p.m. and was told Brignol had been seriously injured. A friend, Sincère Montigène, a member of AJPEG, advised him to go to the police station, where he was told they knew about the attack but that no officer had yet been sent to the scene.Moreno then informed the local prosecutor, Bellande Dumerzier, at the courthouse. Dumerzier had already been contacted by an investigating judge, Clédanor’s brother Alexandre, in whose house Emmanuel had taken refuge after the attack. Dumerzier had already ordered police to go to the scene of the crime, he told Moreno.Moreno said he went back to the police station six more times, along with his cousin Louis Géraud. At first, police chief Alix Alexandre, perhaps innocently mixing up the attack on Lindor with the earlier one on Duvergé, said Lindor had only been injured. Later, the duty police officer told them a patrol would be leaving any minute. Finally, annoyed by Moreno and Géraud’s insistence, he shouted: “I’m staying here. Leave us alone. I’m not going anywhere.”The funeralGéraud and another cousin of Moreno and Brignol, Dominique Jean, then decided to go to the scene of the crime themselves. The attackers had disappeared and they found the body, which they hid elsewhere in the field before returning to town to look for a vehicle. They noticed that the windows of Clédanor’s jeep had been smashed.In Petit-Goâve, the two cousins persuaded people from the Notre Dame undertakers firm to go with them. They picked up the badly-mutilated corpse and put it in the hearse. They noticed that since they were last there, the jeep had been burned. As they returned to town, they met a vehicle carrying prosecutor Dumerzier, justice of the peace Julien Lenor and police chief Alexandre. The three men examined the body and went back to town as well. Lindor’s body was taken to the Notre Dame funeral home. That evening, an unidentified group of people triumphantly brought his bloodied tie to the offices of radio Echo 2000.The killers confess: “Brignol was asking for it.”On 5 December, Guyler Delva, secretary-general of the Haitian Journalists’ Association (AJH), did an on-the-spot enquiry. Police chief Alexandre gave him four police escorts “for his own safety.” They took him to L’Acul to see the leaders of Domi Nan Bwa. Delva could not identify them because he did not previously know them, except for Duvergé, who had come out of hospital, and Zéphyr Jr, owner of the house where Lindor had tried to take refuge.The group told Delva, according to a tape of their conversation, that they had “taken part in the lynching not of a journalist but of a member of Convergence called Brignol Lindor. We heard that one of the founders of our organisation (Duvergé) had been attacked with machetes by Convergence supporters,” they said. “So we got together at once. And then some Convergence members (Lindor and Clédanor) turned up and terrorised people by firing shots (neither Lindor nor Clédanor had weapons when they went to L’Acul). The local people went after them and we stoned them and hit them with sticks until one of them, Lindor, stopped breathing.””We don’t recognise Lindor as a journalist,” they said. “He’s a member of Convergence and a customs official who pays people to attack FL members in Petit-Goâve,” they told Delva. Duvergé added: “Lindor is a criminal, he was asking for it. He wasn’t killed by one, two or five people. If 10, 15 or 20 people kill someone, nobody should be arrested. He’s dead and gone. Brignol isn’t king, he’s a cheat, a customs official who steals public money and who’s trying to mess up this country. (…) This is why zero tolerance was meted out to him.”A few days later, the recorded confessions of the killers were broadcast by radio stations and Delva gave the information he had gathered to prosecutor Dumerzier, who had taken charge of the case.”Don’t bother with him, get the journalist”Love Augustin nearly met the same fate as Brignol Lindor. On 3 December, Augustin, 56, who has a drinks business in the centre of Petit-Goâve, went on his Honda motor-cycle to the small plot of land he owns near L’Acul to gather mangoes and coconuts.”I was surrounded by about 30 youths with machetes and axes,” he said. “They stopped me and shouted ‘You’re not Lavalas’ and so on and ‘We’re going to kill you.’ They surrounded me and held a machete to my throat. I told them ‘I don’t do politics, I don’t do anything, I’m nobody.’ Then a jeep appeared. Joubert, who was clearly the leader, told the group “Don’t bother with him, get the journalist. It’s Brignol Lindor. The councillor (Bony) said ‘zero tolerance’ for this journalist.’ Then everyone rushed towards the jeep and stopped it. I escaped as fast as I could and hid about 500 metres away. Then people told me Lindor was dead. I went and told the police.”Lindor’s funeral on 10 December saw an impressive turnout around the church and clashes with pro-Aristide “chimères” (street thugs). Police intervened violently and used tear-gas and only a few people managed to make it to the cemetery for the burial. Moreno Lindor said he and his father had to slip out of the church for fear of being attacked by government supporters.Only four suspects jailedIn the days after the funeral, prosecutor Dumerzier issued about 20 summonses against people suspected in both the murder of Lindor and the attack on Duvergé. By the end of July this year, only four people suspected in the murder had been jailed – Fritz Doudoute, Ti Florian and Sedner Sanvilus (Ti Lapli) in Petit-Goâve, and Maxi Zéphyr, who was arrested in Port-au-Prince for another matter and who is now in the central prison there. A fifth suspect, Colbert Ambalane, was reportedly detained briefly in early June.The preliminary legal investigation of the case was finally assigned to Judge Fritzner Duclair, who was unable to get permission to transfer Zéphyr to Petit-Goâve. We hear the judge has almost completed his investigation and the prosecutor nearly has his case ready. Duclair was expected to issue seven arrest warrants in early September but to free Ti Florian and Sainvilus for lack of evidence. The murder charge against Doudoute was expected to be changed to arson, a crime that also has to be tried by the assize court. The three men have reportedly convinced the judge that they were not at the scene of the crime when it happened.Keeping up appearancesThe authorities deny protecting anyone from prosecution. They blame the lack of arrests on the inability of the police to operate in what they say is a virtually lawless neighbourhood whose inhabitants refuse to cooperate and by the fact that the main suspects seem to be in hiding.They say they have done all they can. President Aristide has personally given Duclair a new Montero Mitsubishi jeep worth 42,000 euros to help him do his job. The local-born police at the Petit-Goâve police station have been transferred to avoid possible complicity with the suspects. Police chief Alexandre has been switched to a desk job at police headquarters in Port-au-Prince, which could be seen as a punishment. The three-member Petit-Goâve town council was forced to resign in early January this year after the angry demonstrations at Lindor’s funeral. The government has appointed in their place three new councillors considered non-political moderates, with order to calm the situation down. Prosecutor Dumerzier says he has received formal instructions from the ministers of justice and the interior to get the enquiry going, saying that “they themselves had an interest in it making progress.” So the situation is moving towards an assizes trial where most of the accused will be tried in their absence.Passivity and slowness of legal officials and the policeBut this has only been for the sake of appearances. Without denying the serious problems involved, including very difficult communications in Petit-Goâve and the meagre resources of police and legal officials, the enquiry into the murder and the preliminary legal investigation have been excessively slow and totally inadequate. This slowness is all the more shocking because Haitians and the outside world, who were appalled by Lindor’s tragic murder, are demanding a serious enquiry by the authorities.Police took Guyler Delva, two days after the killing, to meet suspects, yet they have since been unable to arrest most of them, even though they know their names. Most have indeed gone into hiding, but some, including Joubert, are regularly seen in Petit-Goâve, even making threats to Lindor’s friends. Seven members of the journalist’s family were also forced to flee the country in April.The autopsy of the body was done a few days after the murder at the family’s request. The police have made no technical examination of the scene of the crime. Lindor’s family even said in mid-July that police had still not visited the scene. The prosecutor, while admitting the failings of the police, denies this. “We went to L’Acul the very next day, this time with a police patrol. There was nobody there, people’s doors were closed, everyone had fled, there wasn’t even a dog to be seen.”The case was given to the examining magistrate, Judge Duclair, on 8 January this year. But he did not start hearings until a month later and then did not hear several key witnesses, including the suspects identified by local people, those present at the 30 November press conference and those who made independent enquiries such as AJPEG secretary-general Michelène Hilaire. No confrontation with witnesses has taken place, especially between the jailed suspects or between Delva and the people he spoke to from Domi Nan Bwa – Duvergé and Zéphyr Jr. Only about 30 witnesses have been heard in all. Police detectives in Haiti have meagre technical resources, so evidence by witnesses is the key to any investigation.The Lindor family’s lawyer, Jean-Joseph Exumé, wonders why Judge Duclair is taking so long to formal conclude his investigation and notes that the three-month time-limit (under a 26 July 1979 law) to conduct and publish the results of an investigation has been expired. The slowness of the judge, he says, is even more unreasonable since both the instigators of the murder and those who carried it out have been identified by a variety of sources.The instigators are put out of reachNo charges are likely to be laid against those who appear to have been the instigators, if not the masterminds, behind the murder of Lindor – those who gave the press conference on 30 November, notably Dumay Bony, the main speaker on the occasion. Legal officials however have a tape of his very explicit remarks, as well as a list of people who attended the press conference in their official capacities. These include Robinson Desrosiers, director of customs, Jud Laporte, deputy manager of the port, Henri-Claude Leconte, secretary-general of the Petit-Goâve Peasant Movement (MPPG), who is considered leader of the pro-FL grassroots organisations in Petit-Goâve, Roger Mackenzy, the manager of the port, Jean Willio Manéus, manager of Téléco (the phone company), Dufort Milord, the FL member of parliament for Petit-Goâve, and Fritzel Poussin, head of the town’s social affairs office. All of them are FL sympathisers or well-known FL activists, since Haitian tradition requires that the government name its own supporters to fill all public sector or administrative positions. Jean-Raymond Flory, coordinator of Domi Nan Bwa and a suspect in the murder, was also at the press conference.The legal authorities do not think what Bony said was in any way an incitement to murder. They say it was just a call to state officials (police and the courts) to carry out a publicly-issued order by the head of state and that “zero tolerance” means no more than strictly obeying the law with regard to criminals. Also, they say, a member of parliament can hardly be prosecuted for asking for the law to be applied.But according to many observers, Aristide’s appeal for “zero tolerance” is barely-concealed approval of lynching. Jean-Claude Bajeux, head of the Ecumenical Centre for Human Rights (CEDH), is convinced Aristide was calling on people to give suspected criminals the “necklace” treatment, where a person is burned alive or dead with a flaming tyre placed around their neck.Pierre Espérance, director in Haiti of the US-based National Coalition for Haitian Rights (NCHR), says Bony’s call for “zero tolerance” towards certain people in Petit-Goâve, including Lindor, was, in the Haitian context, “simply a call to kill them.” Espérance says “zero tolerance appeals are especially made with reference to political opponents.” He noted the statement of the then culture and communications minister, Guy Paul, three days after Lindor’s murder, that “the news editor (Lindor) of Radio Echo 2000 was not killed because he was a journalist but because he was a member of the Democratic Convergence.”Of the suspected instigators of the killing, only Poussin and Bony are thought to have been heard by investigating judge Duclair and Bony only at an informal meeting. There has been no internal enquiry by the interior ministry into the behaviour of local elected officials. Apart from the three-member town council, other suspected instigators of the crime are still in their jobs. One of them, Robinson Desrosiers, the director of customs, has reportedly even been transferred to Port-au-Prince, in what could be seen as a promotion in view of the relative hardships of a job in the provinces. Such treatment of the suspected instigators can only be seen as a flagrant example of the impunity accorded by the regime to its over-zealous supporters.Corrupt officials and attempts to bribe them?During their investigation, the Reporters Without Borders / Damocles team came across a new witness. A resident of Petit-Goâve, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of reprisals, said two top officials and two people allegedly involved in the murder went to L’Acul on 27 or 28 June last to talk to witnesses and participants in the killing with the presumed intent to influence their evidence or bribe them to keep quiet. The witness said they were Privat Précil, director-general of the justice ministry, D’or Monal, one of the suspected killers, Domi Nan Bwa coordinator Flory, another suspect, and Ramilus Bolivar, the FL member of parliament for Côtes de Fer. The group reportedly went to L’Acul in a jeep numbered “Official 0049” and first met Leconte, the town’s pro-FL grassroots organisations chief, at the local school. Reporters Without Borders and the Damocles Network informed Judge Duclair of this evidence in a letter on 26 August.Members of Lindor’s family who have taken refuge in France also accuse the authorities of trying to buy their silence after the murder. On 10 December, on the eve of the funeral, Jean-Claude Desgranges, head of President Aristide’s government office, went to the family’s home to present the government’s condolences. Lindor’s brother Moreno says Desgranges offered to find him a job at the presidential palace and give him money “to help” him. The family chased Desgranges out of the house. Help by sharing this information Journalist shot dead amid anti-government protests in Haiti Newslast_img read more

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich’s daughter Sofia looking for love

first_img No doubt the daughter of the businessman, investor, politician and Chelsea owner will not be short of offers. Sofia, who is one of the billionaire’s seven children, was born in Russia before moving to England with the rest of her family in 2003. But Abramovic split from her mother in 2007 – which cost him a whopping £155million. The 24-year-old has lived a life of luxury which has consisted of being taken to school in a helicopter and driven everywhere in bullet-proof Range Rovers. She graduated in 2018 at the Royal Holloway University in London – where she had the choice of two mansions to live in. Abramovich’s daughter is a huge lover of horses and has even represented Russia at showjumping. Read Also:Rejuvenated Abramovich to go ‘all in’ with Lampard’s Chelsea The 25-year-old did not have a Valentine, but a number of the biggest sporting stars took to Instagram to show their softer side today. FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail分享 #Soccer Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich’s daughter Sofia looking for love as she posts Valentine’s Day plea in bikini on yacht https://t.co/t8APO6739J— Football News (@soccerMeraki) February 14, 2020 Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich’s daughter is searching for a Valentine’s date – and wants everyone to know about it. AD285130919Sofia Abramovich.jpg Sofia, 25, shared a snap of herself on a yacht in Spain as she admitted she is looking for love.The Russian billionaire’s daughter regularly bombards her 22,700 Instagram followers with pictures of her luxurious lifestyle. But it was a different story on Valentine’s Day as she revealed she did NOT have a date. She shared a bikini-clad picture which showed her standing on the edge of a yacht as she looked into the water. Alongside it, she added the caption: “Looking for a date for Valentine’s like.” Loading…last_img read more

Bill Westerfeld

first_imgBilly “Bill” Edward Westerfeld passed away on Thursday, May 2, 2019 on the farm that he was raised on in Decatur County, Indiana.  The son of Oscar and Virgie (nee: Henderson) Westerfeld was born on March 5, 1931 in Decatur County, Indiana.  He was 88 years old.He worked as an independent contractor over the road truck driver for many years before retiring. Bill was a veteran of the United States Air Force.Bill’s hobbies were fishing, camping, being outdoors, and working with his tractors, piddling in his work shop and going to McDonald’s for coffee with his friends.  Most of all, he was a proud grandpa and great grandpa.He is survived by his children, Rita (Mark) Belter of Greensburg, Tina Westerfeld of Greensburg along with two grandchildren, Kristy (Brett) Osting and Kevin (Angela) Belter, and three great grandchildren, Gracie and Luke Osting, Josie Belter and one on the way, and his brother Roger Westerfeld of Greensburg.In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his siblings, Roy Westerfeld, Bob Westerfeld, Paul Westerfeld and Joann Shonk.Visitation will be Monday, May 6, 2019 from 6-8 pm at Meyers Funeral Home. Funeral Services will be 10:00 am on Tuesday, May 7, 2019 at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church – Crossroads. Pastor, Creighton Leptak, Jr. officiating. Burial will follow at St. Paul’s Lutheran Cemetery with military honors conducted by the Ripley County VFW Post 3183 and Prell-Brand American Legion Post 271.Memorials may be given to the St. Paul’s Lutheran Church or the New Point Fire Department. Online condolences www.meyersfuneralhome.com.last_img read more

PSL’s Karachi matches to be played in an empty stadium: PCB

first_imgKarachi: The remaining Pakistan Super League (PSL) matches that are scheduled to be held at Karachi’s National Stadium will be played behind closed doors, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) announced on Thursday.”Following advice from the Sindh Government late Thursday afternoon, the Pakistan Cricket Board has made a decision to stage the upcoming Karachi HBL Pakistan Super League 2020 matches in empty National Stadium,” said the PCB in a statement. “The decision will be enforced from Friday, 13 March, while for the Thursday, 12 March fixture the PCB and the Sindh Government has strongly advised the spectators to continue to take all necessary precautionary measures.”There are four more matches left in the group stage of the PSL, three of which will be played in Karachi and one in Lahore. Later, one qualifier will be played in Karachi while the two eliminators and final will all be held in Lahore. “With regard to the remaining fixtures in Lahore, we are already in contact with the Punjab Government and will take on board its advisory in relation to the Lahore matches,” PCB Chief Executive Wasim Khan was quoted as saying in the board’s release. IANSAlso Read: Asian Cricket Council (ACC) will decide the Asia Cup venue: PCBAlso Watch: AASU staged two-hour sit-in demonstration against CAA 2019 in Charaideolast_img read more

O’Donnell awaiting team announcement.

first_imgJohnny Sexton, Sean O’Brien, Jamie Heaslip and Cian Healy could all be included in the Irish starting 15 named to face France on Saturday.The 4 missed out on last weeks win in Italy due to injury.Cahir’s Tommy O’Donnell will be hoping his try scoring performance in Rome will be enough to secure a start this weekend. It remains unclear if Rory Best has made a sufficient recovery from the concussion he picked up last week.last_img