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HAITI: Political Prisoner and Former Prime Minister Yvon Neptune Released!
Update: July 27th 2006 Neptune Released! Freedom!
<by Brian Concannon>
Update: At 2PM Haiti time today, I spoke with Mario Joseph of the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux, who was at the National Penitentiary in Port-au-Prince. Mario said that Mr. Neptune was currently going through the procedures for release from prison, and he expected him to leave within a few minutes. The release is a provisional one, to receive medical treatment. There has been decision yet by the Appeals Court of Gonaives on the appeal of the charges in the La Scieirie case.
Minister of Justice René Magloire recently wrote to Roland Paphius, requesting him to ask the Appeals Court for the humanitarian release. Mr. Paphius (who had recommended that all the charges against Mr. Neptune be dropped in June) did petition the court, and the Court granted the release.
Mr. Neptune’s battle for justice is not nearly over. The unjustified charges against him still need to be dismissed definitively. But this is a big victory, because it ensures that Mr. Neptune will receive medical treatment and gives him a chance to restore his health, while removing the risks of prison life.
Credit for this victory goes to, above all, Mr. Neptune, who has fought injustice with a persistent insistence on justice, and responded to outrageous persecution always with dignity and courage. Minister Magloire should be commended on taking a leadership role in this, as should Prosecutor Paphius. Mr. Neptune’s supporters in Haiti, especially his family, and Patrick Elie, Ronald St. Jean and Mario Joseph kept the pressure on the Haitian justice system. But credit also goes to all of you who have written, called, faxed and prayed for Mr. Neptune’s release over the last 25 months.