Published on Friday, July 15, 2005 by Reuters
Haitian Journalist Kidnapped, Tortured, Killed
by Joseph Guyler Delva
|PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, July 14 ) - The body of a Haitian journalist abducted last weekend was found on Thursday. in the latest of a series of kidnappings for ransom that have shaken the troubled Caribbean nation.|
Jacques Roche, in his early 40s, had been tortured and shot several times, apparently with a small-caliber weapon. He had been burned, his arms were broken and tied behind his back and his body was covered with blood.
Roche, the first journalist abducted in the kidnapping wave, was snatched at gunpoint on Sunday. His body was found in the capital, Port-au-Prince.
Police say more than 450 people have been kidnapped since March.
Most kidnap victims have been released after a ransom was paid. Roche was the fourth known to have died.
Roche was a poet and the culture and society section chief at Le Matin newspaper, as well as a sports commentator at Radio Ibo in Port-au-Prince.
Chenald Augustin, a colleague of Roche in the Le Matin newsroom, said the killing may have been connected to the ransom demand or could have been politically motivated.
"They (the kidnappers) demanded $250,000, but after a lot of negotiation, they revised the amount downwards to $10,000," said Augustin. "His relatives and friends had collected $10,000 that was sent to the kidnappers. Then they said they were waiting for the $240,000 remaining."
Roche hosted a TV show on civil society issues for the Group of 184, a coalition of prominent business, religious and civic groups that played a prominent role in the ouster of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in February 2004.
"Those who called to negotiate told us that Jacques was a member of the 184. When we told them he was just a journalist doing his job, they insisted, saying that he should have known his affiliation with that group could have consequences," said Augustin.
"It is not clear whether they kidnapped him because of his role in 184 group's TV program; maybe they have learned about it afterwards," Augustin said.
In April 2000, Haiti's leading radio commentator and journalist, Jean Dominique, was shot to death outside his radio station. Botched efforts to bring his killers to justice have become an enduring symbol of Haiti's political turmoil and the frailty of its justice system.
© 2005 Reuters