WASHINGTON -- December 21 -- The Haiti Accompaniment Project's second report on human rights in Haiti highlights a prison system where people are targeted because of their political affiliation (pro-Aristide), arrested with no warrant, terrorized by those who arrest them, and held five months or more without a court hearing. "No prisoner with whom we spoke had been tried and convicted of a crime, nor had anyone we spoke with been given a trial date," the report says.
The complete report is attached and can be found at http://www.haitiaction.net/News/HAP/8_16_4.html
On prison brutality, the report makes this startling finding: "It is not encouraging to learn that the US State Department initially selected a US prison consultant, Terry Stewart, to oversee reform of Haiti's prisons. Mr. Stewart's previous position was consultant to Abu Ghraib. During the time he served as director of Arizona's prison system (1995-2002), the US Justice Department brought a suit charging male prison guards with rape, sodomy and assault against fourteen female inmates."
And the report describes appalling prison conditions. At the juvenile detention center "...we found 24 boys distributed in three small cells that opened directly via barred doors onto an outside dirt compound surrounded by walls topped with barbed wire. Their ages ranged from 14 to 17 years old. The cells had no toilets, lights or windows. We saw no water. The sun beat down on the open cells. Most of the children lacked mattresses and blankets; they were sleeping on bare floors. There were small "pee" jars on the floor in the corner. The smell of urine and waste was pervasive."
Editors/reporters/broadcasters please note: Authors of the report are available for interview. Contact Leslie Mullin 415-514-2292.