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Haiti Action Committee Condemns Continued Incarceration of Ill Priest
by Haiti Action Committee
Thursday Jan 5th, 2006 2:34 PM
For immediate release
Contact: Sasha Kramer, 503-807-3923, <sash [at]>

The San Francisco Bay Area-based Haiti Action Committee today called on the Bush Administration to exert the pressure necessary to force the de facto Haitian government to release its most prominent political prisoner, Fr. Gerard Jean-Juste, so he can obtain medical treatment in the United States. The widely-respected priest has recently been diagnosed with leukemia.

On December 29 the Miami Herald reported that Fr. Gerard Jean-Juste has developed leukemia and needs immediate treatment. Dr. Paul Farmer, the U.S. doctor who drew Jean-Juste's blood, is a Harvard professor and expert in
infectious diseases. Farmer commented that ``Father Gerry's in serious trouble if he isn't released from jail for proper work-up in the States.''

Sasha Kramer of the Haiti Action Committee, who recently visited Fr. Jean-Juste in Haiti, said, "The Haitian government claims their doctors have found nothing wrong with Jean-Juste, but the coup regime has absolutely no credibility. The Bush Administration could easily pressure the Latortue government, which it helped put in place, to release Jean-Juste. It must now do so.”

A Third Circuit US Court of Appeals decision earlier this year cited a source who likened the conditions in Haiti's prisons to a
"scene reminiscent of a slave ship." A current State Department Consular Information Sheet for Haiti states, "Medical facilities in Haiti are scarce and for the most part sub-standard; outside the capital standards are even lower. Medical care in Port-au-Prince is limited, and the level of community sanitation is extremely low. Life-threatening emergencies may require evacuation by air ambulance at the patient's expense."

Fr. Jean-Juste has never been formally charged. Amnesty International calls him a ''prisoner of conscience'' and 42 members of the U.S. Congress signed a letter demanding his release.

More than one thousand Haitian political prisoners have been imprisoned since the February 29, 2004 coup which drove the democratically-elected government of Jean-Bertrand Aristide from office.

for more information:
(510) 483-7481
haitiaction [at]

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