Haiti Lawyer arbitrarily held in police custody
28 October 2013

Haiti Lawyer arbitrarily held in police custody

On 22 October 2013, human rights lawyer André Michel was arbitrarily held for one night in police custody. While on his way back home, André Michel’s car was stopped by police officers, who attempted to carry out a search of the vehicle. André Michel would only accept the search if a justice of the peace (juge de paix) was called, a request which is in accordance with Haitian law. The search was eventually carried out in the presence of the juge de paix, and no evidence of wrongdoing was found. In spite of this, the Office of the Prosecutor ordered that André Michel be held in custody overnight on charges of ‘obstructing justice’. André Michel was released by the authorities in the morning of 23 October.

André Michel is involved in a case concerning corruption complaints brought against the presidential family. Since the beginning of this corruption case, André Michel has denounced receiving intimidation and threats and shortly after starting on the case, in July 2013, an arrest warrant was issued against him for his alleged involvement in a murder. André Michel’s client, the complainant in the corruption case, was arrested on the basis of the same charge and remains in detention to date.

Shortly after André Michel was released, a member of the Office of the Prosecutor declared to the press that  arrest warrant against André Michel from July 2013 would be carried out.

In the last two years, an increasing number of human rights lawyers have denounced being victims of intimidation, judicial harassment and arbitrary actions by police and judicial authorities. L4L campaigned for several lawyers, amongst them André Michel, before. Click here for more information.

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