Ex-Senate Chairman during the Aristide administration, Dr. Jean-Marie Fourel Celestin, has blamed the U.S. government for being lured into the drug trade. He expressed his outrage just prior to his deportation to Port-au-Prince. Haitian authorities arrested him, alleging his participation in drug trafficking, money laundering, and other criminal charges. Under police custody he attended an hours-long hearing. He was then turned over to the Central Directorate Judicial Police, who imprisoned him at the National Penitentiary for nearly two weeks.
Fourel's attorney, Mr. Joseph Claudet Lamour, said the warrant issued for Fourel's arrest by Judge Alexandre Mimose at the hearing, had no grounds for being. Lamour pointed to international conventions Haiti agrees to, which states a person cannot be imprisoned for ". . . the same charges in a third country . . .", which in Fourel's case is the U.S.
Haiti's prison system has been reported as among the worst on the globe. Prisoners are crammed into holding cells shoulder-to-shoulder. They huddle on the cement floor because no beds exist, and they have to sleep in shifts. Often no running water is available, and the men are afflicted with scabies, chronic hunger, mental disturbances, and high blood pressure.
The U.S., in order to alleviate the conditions of too many inmates and too little space, is planning to erect two new prisons in Haiti. They will be located in Petit Goâve and Cabaret. Cost estimates for the project are expected to be from five to ten million USD.
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