Demonstrators Surround Police Station as Prominent Regime Critic Arrested

by Kim Ives (Haiti Liberte)
Over 1000 people massed in front
of a police station in the Martissant section of Port-au-Prince on the evening
of Oct. 22 as police encircled the car of outspoken lawyer André Michel, who
was stopped while driving nearby shortly after 6 p.m.
before 10 p.m., the police removed Michel from his vehicle, smashing its
windows, his lawyer Newton St. Juste said. Mr. Michel was then taken into the
police station, as CIMO riot police fired teargas and shots in the air to
disperse the angry crowds outside.
midnight, Mr. Michel was still being held in the station with clusters of
protestors regathering on some street corners, despite the lingering teargas.
year, Mr. Michel brought a suit against President Michel Martelly and his
family for corruption. Shortly thereafter, the government issued a warrant for
Mr. Michel’s arrest, accusing him of involvement in the 2010 killing of a
student, Frantzy Duverseau. The victim’s father, Ovil Duverseau, who was a
witness to the incident, has publicly said that Mr. Michel was not responsible
in any way for his son’s death. Instead, Mr. Duverseau blames Martelly’s police
force for his son’s fatal beating following an altercation.
radio interviews by cellphone from his besieged car on different stations in
the capital, Mr. Michel said that Justice Minister Jean Renel Sanon and
Martelly’s hard-liner confidants, the brothers Gregory and Thierry Mayard-Paul,
were behind his arrest, which was carried out by government commissioner
Francisco René. On Radio Kiskeya, Mr. Michel said of Mr. René that “I don’t
consider him a government commissioner or a judge, I consider him as a
bald-headed (tèt kale) militant,” the term used to describe Martelly partisans.
we live in a country where a group of people think that they have all the
rights, while other people have no rights because they are in the opposition,”
Mr. Michel said.
addition to Mr. St. Juste, several other lawyers arrived at the scene in
solidarity, charging the arrest was completely illegal. Under the Haitian
Constitution, the police cannot make an arrest between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.,
unless they catch someone in the act of committing a crime.
the warrant hanging over his head, Mr. Michel has been circulating and speaking
out for months, aware that “the police have been following me.”
a long time, I have resumed my professional and political activities, and I
have been fighting the good fight,” Mr. Michel said. “I said to myself I would
not hide, because when you hide, you facilitate the task of the person who is
trying to make you hide.”
is important to defend our democratic gains in Haiti” since the fall of the
Duvalier dictatorship in 1986, Mr. Michel concluded in one of his radio
interviews. “We have to have the courage and determination for that.”

we go to press, several burning tire barricades and small demonstrations are
flaring throughout the capital, radios report.