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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: Haiti | International
Jesse Jackson warned Haiti's coup government that he was coming soon
Reverend Jesse Jackson warned Gerard Latortue that he would be on the next plane to Haiti if the seriously ill Father Gerard Jean Juste was not released immediately for medical care.
"... Time is running out for Fr. Gerry, and keeping him out of the hospital for a single day longer will lead to ending his life. I once again appeal to you to use your moral authority including instructing your Minister of Justice to instruct the Commissaire du gouvernement to release Fr. Jean-Juste immediately. Treatment has already been arranged for Fr. Gerry in a Miami hospital and the medics are just waiting for his arrival.
"I respectfully ask you to please instruct [Raymond] Joseph to make the arrangements for my immediate visit to Haiti..."
Rev. Jackson and his Rainbow/PUSH organization have been actively working behind the scenes for Fr. Gerry's release. In response to Rev. Jackson's appeals the coup government had tried to claim that the charade was the fault of Father Jean-Juste's defense team appealing the fabricated charges. The letter exposed the deceit of Gerard Latortue:
"[Raymond] Joseph explained your government's position that Fr. Jean-Juste's appeal of the ordonnance is the main impediment to his release. But the experts I have consulted inform me that the Commissaire du Gouvernement has the authority to provisionally release any prisoner immediately for medical treatment, regardless of the procedural status of the case. Fr. Jean-Juste has agreed to return to court if released, as he has done several times over the past fifteen months, therefore, his urgent release for a life saving medical treatment is very vital and should be acted on immediately.
"Although the matter of the appeal is secondary to saving Fr. Jean-Juste's life, I find it hard to substantiate your position that a criminal defendant facing serious charges should agree to a trial based on documents he considers defective. The stakes here are high- the association de malfaiteurs (criminal conspiracy) charge carries a 3-15 year term of hard labor, but also permanent forfeiture of civil rights, including the right to run for political office; and potential exclusion from the United States, which is essential given the leukemia ravaging his body. I find it disturbing that a defendant would be forced to abandon his rights as a pre-condition to receiving life-saving medical treatment.
"As you know, I know Father Jean-Juste personally and concur with the views of Amnesty International, Human Rights First, and many others including many United States Congressmen and clergy that Gerry is a prisoner of conscience. Indeed, Investigative Judge Peres' dismissal of the 2004 and 2005 murder, kidnapping, and other serious charges against him tend to support this conclusion. I note that Judge Peres found that no evidence of any kind had even been submitted in support of these serious charges."
Rainbow/PUSH Political Director, Butch Wing, stated that the organization remains committed with the People of Haiti and their struggle. "Rev. Jackson traveled with Father Jean-Juste to visit the Pope in the early 90's. Last month, in December, Jesse visited President Aristide in South Africa." When President Aristide was kidnapped by the U.S. Marines and attempted to isolate him in the Central African Republic, Rev. Jackson was instrumental in getting President Aristide on CNN to tell his story of the forced "rendition."