Haitian activist sent before criminal court on murder charges

Published on by Joseph Guyler Delva (author)

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PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (HCNN) - Haitian investigating Judge Lamarre Belizaire issued on Wednesday a ruling in the case of the murder, in October 2010, of  student Frantzy Duverseau, sending activist André Michel, and three other accused whose arrest has been ordered by the magistrate before the criminal court, HCNN learned from judicial sources on Thursday.

Enold Florestal, Josué Florestal, André Michel and Jeanco Honorat are charged and prosecuted for the murder of Frantzy Duverseau, inside the private residence of his parents.

Judge Belizaire has cleared 2 suspects, Jude Celigné and Pierre Louis Frantz, as clues, found regarding their possible involvement in the murder of Frantzy Duverseau, are not sufficient.

"However, it is necessary to proceed against André Michel, Enold Florestal, Josué Florestal and Jeanco Honorat for acts of murder blamed on them at the expense of Frantzy Duverseau inside the private residence of his parents on Carmelot street, Bois-Verna, Port-au-Prince, in accordance with Article 241 of the Criminal Code of Haiti, while dismissing in part the prosecutor's final summing-up, dated August 22, 2014, " reads the order.

"We order that they be arrested and placed in a detention center if they had not yet been detained. We order that all documents related to the case be sent to the prosecutor for legal follow-up," reads the order, a copy of which the Haitian-Caribbean News Network (HCNN) has obtained.

Ovil Duverseau, the father of late Frantzy Duverseau, said his son was executed on October 18, 2010, when several civilians, accompanied with 4 police officers raided his home, following a violent dispute that involved the victim's sister, Fabienne Duverseau, and her husband, Enold Florestal.

Frantzy Duverseau, who went to help his sister, got in a fight with the aggressor who, shortly after, was wounded apparently in a subsequent stone throwing exchange, witnesses say.

The Duverseau family explained that Enold Florestal left the scene of the incident and sent several of his allies, among them Josué Florestal and André Michel, for revenge.

"Even though the police were on the scene, the one who personally went inside to grab and start massacring Frantzy, was Josué Florestal, Enold Florestal's brother, who was accompanied with Andre Michel", Ovil Duverseau told HCNN on Monday.

Duverseau said his son, Frantzy Duverseau, was shot at point-blank range in the left eye by one of the police officers who were trying to arrest him, while turning a blind eye to the violence perpetrated against Fabienne Duverseau who was still bleeding.

"Enold Florestal was beating up Fabienne who was bleeding. When she called me for help I went to tell Enold that he did not have a right to beat his wife, who is also my daughter," Ovil Duverseau said.

"I pushed him, and he lifted a big stone that he threw at me. Then Frantzy intervened and challenged him," he stated. "Then some of the police officers and Andre Michel acted in complicity to assassinate Frantzy," said Duverseau who acknowledged his son was trying to resist the arrest he considered as illegal.

One of the alleged accomplices, Andre Michel, also a lawyer and opposition member of the current government, said he was intervening as a lawyer for Enold Florestal. "I went with the police to the Duverseau's house because I was the one who knew the address and also because I was a lawyer for Florestal," Michel said.

The opposition activist, André Michel, was charged as an accomplice of the Florestal brothers and a police officer considered as authors and co-authors of the crime.

"We will not give up and we will instead intensify the fight against the despotism embodied by this government, " Michel told HCNN on Thursday.

Michel called the proceedings against him political persecutions because of the role he plays as a fierce opponent of the administration of president Michel Martelly.

However, Justice Minister Jean Renel Sanon denied any government involvement in the legal proceedings against André Michel and his allies.

"This is a criminal case initiated before the arrival to power of President Michel Martelly and the government of Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe," Sanon told HCNN.

"I do not see how a court action on a murder that actually took place and that would involve people who were on the scene, could be a political persecution," said Minister Sanon.

A report by a human rights group, called CARLI, revealed it was an assassination and called on judicial authorities to prosecute authors and accomplices of such an awful crime, rejecting accounts that Duverseau's killer acted in self-defense as claimed by those targeted by the judge's investigation.

A separate report by the United Nations on the killing came to the same conclusion. The way the bullet went downward into the face of the victim showed he was shot point-blank, supposedly while being on the floor or on his knees, UN human rights officials say.

The circumstances surrounding Duverseau's killing lead many to believe that it could be question of a premeditated murder fueled by a tendency for revenge, which assumptions Michel and his allies have categorically denied.

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