Aristide party official kidnapped in Haiti

Haitian lawyers are calling for action to save the life of Dr. Maryse Narcisse who was kidnapped by armed men on Saturday night.

Narcisse, a leading member of former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s Fanmi Lavalas party, was appointed spokesperson for Aristide after the 2004 coup d’etat . She was seized by a group of armed men as she reached her home after leaving a meeting with So Ann and others of Fanmi Lavalas, and driven off in a car with her abductors.

Ezili Danto, on behalf of the Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network, said in a statement that initially there had not been a ransom demand and it was clearly a political abduction. But yesterday it emerged that a ransom demand has been made for $300,000. The HLLN believe the sudden request may be a cover to confuse and mask the political nature of the kidnapping.

“Now it's Dr. Maryse Narcisse that's been ‘disappeared’, following the disappearance of Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine in August,” the statement says.

Tell whoever has taken Narcisse that an international audience deeply concerned about the fate of Dr.Maryse Narcisse is witnessing their actions. Help raise the international concern and visibility of this human rights violation case. Help save the life of Maryse Narcisse, stop her torture, and prevent her execution. Return her to her family. HLLN hopes and prays that the Dr. Maryse Narcisse abduction is not a political dissappearance as with the Lovinsky case and that Dr. Maryse Narcisse will be safely returned, after payment of a ransom, to her loved ones and to continue her advocacy work defending Haitian rights and the poor majority against imperialism, UN occupation, a racist global economic system and dictatorship.

The kidnapping took place on Saturday just as representatives of the governments of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Guatemala, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay, all of which contribute troops to the United Nations peacekeeping force in Haiti (Minustah), met in Buenos Aires to study ways in which aid for Haiti could be made most effective.

Haiti’s president - Rene Preval, who was elected in February 2006 pledged to rid his country of the label "failed state". But many locals believe that gangsterism remains endemic in a country scourged by extreme poverty and violence. Brazilian troops are holed out in former kidnapping dens, circled by barbed wire. They admit that Port-au-Prince's gangs still own a vast array of guns, among them Israeli assault rifles and AK-47s.

29 October 2007

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