Haitian lawyer claims government persecution

By James Barnes

08 October 2012 at 11:53 BST

A prominent Haitian lawyer has claimed that he and his firm are being victimised for work that is politically at odds with the national government.

Haiti: lawyer hits out over intimidation tactics

Mario Joseph says he has received menacing telephone calls, as well as other forms of harassment and intimidation over the past year, reports the Washington Post newspaper.
Mr Jospeh had worked on several politically-charged cases, including that of former dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier, who returned to Haiti last year following 25 years in exile and is facing corruption charges.

Cholera outbreak

An adviser to President Michel Martelly on Friday called the allegations ‘completely false’. Global human rights groups Amnesty International and the National Lawyers Guild, as well as the US-based Centre for Constitutional Rights have all issued statements denouncing the harassment.
Meanwhile, Mr Joseph – a renowned human rights lawyer – appeared on a panel discussing the recent outbreak of cholera in Haiti. The event – held at the Santa Barbara campus of the University of California -- aimed to highlight human rights injustices in Haiti, said Mr Joseph, claiming that outbreak of disease has claimed the lives of 7,500.

UN toops

According to a report in the university’s newspaper, The Daily Nexus, Mr Joseph also alleged that the outbreak was caused by UN troop bringing infection. Furthermore, he claimed the UN troops should not be in the country as there is no ‘war’, and there is no legal justification for their presence.
‘So it’s an illegality that has created this disaster,’ Mr Joseph said. ‘What we’d like to do is expose the racial discrimination because [the UN] wouldn’t do that in the US or France.’


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