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After 2-Years in Prison, Hunger Striking Former Haitian Prime Minister Yvon Neptune is Freed
After more than two years in prison and a fifteen month hunger-strike, former Haitian Prime Minister Yvon Neptune was freed Thursday. The most high profile political prisoner detained by the U.S.-backed interim government in Haiti, Neptune was jailed shortly after the 2004 coup that ousted Haitian President Jean Bertrand Aristide. He was never charged with a crime.
Haiti’s former Prime Minister Yvon Neptune has been freed after spending more than two years in prison. On Thursday, Neptune walked out of the National Penitentiary. Two UN peacekeepers then helped him into an ambulance that took him to a hospital. He was frail and barely able to speak, after spending much of the past 15 months on a hunger strike. Yvon Neptune was jailed shortly after the 2004 coup that ousted Haitian President Jean Bertrand Aristide.
He was never charged with a crime and was the most high profile political prisoner detained by the U.S.-backed interim government.
Supporters and relatives celebrated his release less than two weeks after over 3,000 people marched in Port-Au-Prince calling for the return of Aristide and the release of all political prisoners. Many of the demonstrators were members of Aristide’s Lavalas party.
Patrick Elie joins us on the line from Port Au Prince. He is a human rights activist in Haiti who campaigned for Neptune’s release. He also served as Haiti’s Drug Czar and Undersecretary of State for Defense in Aristide’s cabinet in the 1990s. He was one of the key figures in dismantling the Haitian military.
* Patrick Elie. Human rights activist in Haiti who campaigned for Neptune's release, and former Haitian Undersecretary for Defense and Drug Czar under Aristide.