December 15, 2018

Press Freedom

Haiti

Haiti Justice Minister Must Investigate Journalist’s Murder


H.E. Paul Denis

Minister

Ministry of Justice and Public Safety

19, Rue Charles Summer

Port-au-Prince

Republic of Haiti

Fax: (011.509.1) 45.04.74


Dear Minister Denis:


We would not have thought it possible for Haiti to generate any more sadness until we learned yesterday of the murder of our colleague Jean Richard Louis Charles.


According to what we know, Charles, a 30-year-old Radio Kiskeya journalist, had just left his bank on Champs-de-Mars square when he was approached by three men. They struggled, and one of the attackers shot Charles in the head and shoulder, killing him. A nearby policeman opened fire, killing one of the men. The two others fled and have not been captured at last report.


The murder of Charles may be a case of robbery unrelated to his work as a reporter. But his work for Radio Kiskeya — one of Port-au-Prince’s most popular radio stations — gives his killing special visibility. Among the staggering challenges facing Haiti is the absence of any reason to believe in civil order, and the killing of a journalist resonates specially in that respect.


An aggressive investigation and prosecution of the killers of Jean Richard Louis Charles could be an ironic opportunity to build faith in the rule of law in Haiti, and to assert the centrality of free expression in a civil society. Or it could be just one more reason to despair.


We would be grateful for your reply.


Very truly yours,

Kevin McDermott
Jeremy Main

Co-chairs – Freedom of the Press Committee

cc’s:


H.E. Louis Harold Joseph

Ambassador of Haiti to the U.S.A.

Embassy of the Republic of Haiti

2311 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W.

Washington, DC 20008

Fax: (202) 745.7215


Permanent Representative

Permanent Mission of the Republic of Haiti
to the United Nations

801 Second Avenue, Room 600

New York, NY 10017

Fax: (212) 661.8698


H.E. Kenneth H. Merten

U.S. Ambassador to Haiti

Embassy of the United States of America

Tabarre 41

Route de Tabarre

Port-au-Prince

Haiti

Fax: (011.509.2) 229.8324


Michele Montas

MINUSTAH

montas@un.org


Sylvie Van Den Wildenberg

MINUSTAH

vandenwildenberg@un.org


Consul Marie Thérèse Guilloteau

Consulate General of the Republic of Haiti

271 Madison Avenue

New York, NY 10016

Fax: (212) 681.6991


William O’Neill

Social Science Research Council

One Pierrepont Plaza

300 Cadman Plaza West

Brooklyn, NY 11201

Fax: (212) 377.2727