Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Haiti : action needed

----- Original Message -----
From: Sasha B. Kramer
To: sash@stanford.edu
Sent: Wednesday, August 17, 2005 3:12 PM
Subject: Father Jean Juste has fallen ill in jail

Friends,

Father Jean Juste has been in prison since Thursday July 21 when he was assaulted by a mob, beaten, then illegally detained without receiving medical care. Many of you have had the honor of meeting Father Jean Juste when he came to California in January, others have no doubt been moved by his statements of behalf of the poor. Those of you who have will understand the depth of my sadness at having to share this most recent news. I just returned from a week in Haiti where the human rights situation is steadily deteriorating in the run up to the elections. Before leaving I was talking with some friends and someone posed the question...if you could have dinner with anyone in the world from all history who would it be? Father Jean Juste was the first to come to my mind. He has taught me how to see hope in the midst of tremendous suffering and showed me the power of courage. Please hold him in your thoughts and prayers.

Peace, Sasha

LETTER FROM FATHER JEAN JUSTE IN PRISON: AUGUST 16, 2005



Port au Prince Haiti - Haiti National Penitentiary

Brothers and sisters around the world, allow me to thank you for what you have done for me personally, and what you have done for the poor ones I serve and stand with, for all prisoners, especially the political prisoners of Haiti.

I know that thousands of you are advocating on my behalf. People from Haiti, from the US, from Brazil, Canada, Germany, France, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Nicaragua and the Netherlands have sent letters and faxes to the US Embassy and the Haitian government trying to free me and to bring democracy and human rights back to Haiti.

Hundreds of churches and organizations who are helping out - I thank you. I especially thank the 29 members of US Congress who signed a letter for me. I read the letter and you are so strong and clear. Well said! I wish our church leaders were so strong and clear.

I must tell you I am not doing well physically. I was almost dead Sunday morning. I fell unconscious for some time but was rescued when some of the other prisoners took me on their backs to the dispensary. God sends me back to you! I do not know what happened. My neck hurts, my skin is very bad and I ache a lot. I need medical attention. But I am glad to be alive and join all of you in the struggle for freedom and real democracy.

My cell is 8 by 2 and is very hot and smelly. We have a bathroom in the hall that works when there is water. There are no beds. I sleep on a one inch thick mat on the floor. Yet I am very thankful to God who allows me to wake up to another life.

I now have discovered so much support for the Haitian people and me from people all over the world. I am in awe. I add my strength to those who stand all over the world for the rights of everyone whatever color, whatever creed, whatever nationality. To Cite Soleil, to Bel-Air, Veye Yo, the 10th department, the Lavalas family, to all of you around the world, to the churches especially my own St. Clare's, I say to you "Chapo Ba!" (I tip my hat!)

There is a great fraternity in jail and with the poor. In jail we pray loudly - day and night. Our spirits are uplifted when we hear about your work for Haiti, because we hear hope coming. We hear hope coming and we know our victory for human rights and respect and democracy will be total one day.

Personally, regardless of all the hardship, I am still joining my voice to the voices of all democracy lovers to demand the return of constitutional order in Haiti, the physical return of our elected president Aristide, release of all political prisoners, respect of all human rights, and if that is done then real elections can happen.

Keep up the advocacy. Keep up the peaceful demonstrations. Keep up the prayers.

Ill and in jail, I humbly add my suffering to those of Jesus to hasten peace and justice and love for everyone.

Merci

** you can read about Father Jean Juste's arrest at: http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2005/07/321949.shtml

To help free Father Jean Juste there are several things you can do:

1. Contact your member of Congress and urge them to join twenty-nine of their colleagues and sign the letter calling on President Bush to take action to secure Father Jean-Juste's immediate release. In Sacramento, contact Rep. Doris Matsui:
Mail: 501 I St, Suite 12-600, Sacramento, 95814
Phone: 916-498-5600
Fax: 916-444-6117
Email (through website): http://www.house.gov/matsui/


2. Sign Human Rights First's Online petition at:
http://www.humanrightsfirst.org/defenders/hrd_haiti/alert072705_juste.htm

3. Yesterday, Father Jean Juste's lawyer Bill Quigley delivered thousands of letters and signatures demanding freedom for Jean Juste (see below for details). Bill is looking for more letters to deliver on his next trip, you may fax them to 1-504-861-5440, or mail to c/o Professor Bill Quigley, Loyola University School of Law, Box 902, New Orleans, LA 70118.


Dear Friends:

Thanks to your help, Bill Quigley, a law professor at Loyola University New Orleans USA, a volunteer lawyer for Fr. Gerard Jean-Juste with the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti who is assisting Mario Joseph of BAI in working for the release of Fr. Jean-Juste, is hand delivering to U.S. Ambassador to Haiti:

1. 791 letters and faxes from people from 42 states and 10 countries (including Brazil, Canada, Jamaica, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Nicaragua, South Africa) calling on the U.S. Ambassador to Haiti to do everything in his power to gain the immediate release of Fr. Gerard Jean-Juste from the Haiti National Penitentiary.

2. Copy of letter signed by 29 U.S. Representatives to the U.S. Congress written to President Bush and the U.S. Ambassador to Haiti calling for the release of Fr. Jean-Juste. The letter is signed by Representatives: Maxine Waters, Jan Schakowsky, Barbara Lee, John Conyers, Charles Rangel, Barney Frank, Lynn Woolsey, Sherrod Brown, Maurice Hichey, Sheila jackson-Lee, Corinne Brown, Earl Blumenauer, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Edophus Brown, Melvin L. Watt, Tammy Baldwin, Kendrick B. Meek, Raul Grijalva, Donna Christensen, Al Green, Julia Carson, Carolyn
Kilpatrick, Gregory Meeks, Dennis Kucinich, Donald Payne, James P. McGovern, Robert Wexler, Major R. Owens, and Bob Filner.

3. Over 1200 names and emails of people calling for the release of Fr. Jean-Juste compiled by the US national human rights group, Human Rights First.

This is a total of over 2020 people as of 6 pm Sunday August 14, 2005. Many other letters and faxes and emails are known to be directed to the U.S. Ambassador and Haitian authorities calling for the immediate release of Fr. Jean-Juste as a result of the designation of Fr. Jean-Juste as a Prisoner of Conscience by Amnesty International.

The 791 people whose letters and faxes are being delivered are from a very broad range of university, legal, medical, religious, community, and private organizations including:

Adelante Youth Center
Adrian Dominican Sisters
Agenda for Children
American University
791 more

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