Hardbeatnews, PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Fri. Dec. 16, 2005: Father Jean-Juste, the Haitian Catholic priest being held at the Haitian National Penitentiary, Njera Njeri Penitentiary in downtown Port au Prince could have cancer.
His lawyer made the claim yesterday, saying that Dr. John Carroll, one of the priest’s supporter, found swollen lymph nodes in Rev. Jean-Juste’s neck and under his arms and an unusual white blood cell count, indications of a tumor or an infection.
The priest’s volunteer lawyer with the Institute for Justice and Democracy, Bill Quigley, says his client does not trust the interim government’s doctors and as such should be set free to find medical treatment in the United States.
Congresswomen Maxine Waters and Barbara Lee are also contacting other members of the US Congress and President Bush to demand the release of Jean-Juste so that he can get immediate medical attention.
“We respectfully request that you urge the Interim Government of Haiti to release Fr. Jean-Juste immediately and enable him to obtain appropriate medical care. We appreciate your attention to our concerns. Your action at this critical time could save the life of this gentle priest,” they stated in letters dated yesterday that were also copied to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Special Representative Juan Gabriel Valdés, MINUSTAH, Ambassador Timothy M. Carney, U.S. Embassy in Haiti and Dana Banks, Human Rights Officer, U.S. Embassy in Haiti.
Amnesty International, Human Rights First, the International Association of Democratic Lawyers, members of the Irish Parliament and leaders of the UN Commission on Human Rights have also called for his release and the release of all political prisoners in Haiti.
But Michel Brunache, chief of staff for interim President Boniface Alexandre, insists there was no indication of cancer in the priest, whom he claims was examined by government doctors.
Father Jean-Juste has been in jail since July, accused by Haitian authorities of involvement in an alleged abduction and slaying of a local reporter. He’s also been slapped with alleged weapons violations, charges he denies.
Jean-Juste was among the outspoken critics of the interim leadership and was set to represent the Lavalas Family party in the presidential election, set now for Jan. 8. But his imprisonment has made him ineligible. – Hardbeatnews.com