Threats and Intimidation Escalate Against Mario Joseph, Newton St. Juste and Andre Michel

Three Haitian human rights attorneys have been targets of death threats for their criticisms against the government of Haiti (GOH) over the last several months. Mario Joseph, Newton St. Juste and André Michel have also turned up on a list of dissidents the Ministry of Justice wants to arrest for unknown reasons.


The advocacy organization, Lawyers for Lawyers (L4L), along with Lawyers Rights Watch Canada (LRWC) have appealed to Haitian law enforcement, pressuring them to look into the sources of threats and scare tactics. They are also asking for a security detail to guard the attorneys.

Mario Joseph, Director of the International Lawyers Office, has been working on cases involving Jean-Claude Duvalier, former dictator of the GOH; the United Nation's part in the uptick of cholera cases; and illegal tenant evictions following the 2010 earthquake.

He spoke before the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights, asking permission to inquire into human rights transgressions in Haiti.

Newton St. Juste and Andre Miche also spoke in front of IACHR regarding corruption allegations they have made against GOH's First Lady, Sophia Martelly, and her son, Olivier. The attorneys say the Martelly's are abusing their committee positions, diverting funds allocated to social and sports programs for their own use.

Port-au-Prince Chief Prosecutor Jean Renel Senatus declined to file charges against the Martellys, citing Article 21 of the Code of Criminal Procedure as forbidding prosecution. In another twist, the Ministry of Justice terminated Senatus for his refusal to carry out the arrests of the list of dissidents.

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