Haiti prison riot trial begins
PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti, October 17, 2011 – Fourteen police officers and officials of the prison services will go on trial Tuesday for the death of at least 11 inmates following last year’s devastating earthquake.
They have been charged with murder, attempted murder, arson and aiding and abetting and could face life in prison if convicted.
The inmates were killed during a prison riot in the southwestern coastal town of Les Cayes, a week after the earthquake killed an estimated 300,000 people.
The January 19 uprising broke out after some of the more than 400 prisoners tried to escape.
The Haitian police and UN peacekeepers had surrounded the building to prevent a mass escape similar to the National Penitentiary in Port-au-Prince on January 12.
The police then stormed the building and opened fire.
The Haitian Government and the peacekeeping mission, Minustah, subsequently opened a joint investigation into the incident.
The judge overseeing the investigation has suggested that up to 22 people lost their lives.
Investigators allege the bodies were buried in secret.