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Justice & Solidarity criticizes prolonged pretrial detention in Haiti

Justice & Solidarity criticizes prolonged pretrial detention in Haiti

Port-au-Prince, Jan 8 (Prensa Latina) The Justice and Solidarity organization condemned the high rates of prolonged pretrial detention in Haiti, which exceeds 83%, and regretted that freedom becomes an exception to the rule.

The human rights platform was highly critical of alleged corruption in the courts of first instance and among some actors in the judicial system.

According to Justice and Solidarity, if litigants do not have the budget to offer payments up the chain, or their case was not publicized in the media, ‘they will languish in prison awaiting a criminal trial with or without the assistance of a jury’.

In addition, they denounced that some government commissioners send detainees to investigating judges who rule provisional release even when it is not appropriate by law, and many of these cases are then not followed up.

This is the corruption that is rampant in most of our courts and prosecutors’ offices,” the organization said.

At the beginning of December, the manager of Penitentiary Administration acknowledged that of the 11,718 inmates, only 1,935 were sentenced by a judge and the rest has had to wait up to a decade to litigate their cases, while some cannot even afford lawyers.

The situation has triggered prison overcrowding, and currently many of the country’s prisons are operating at four times their capacity, in addition to the lack of food and medical attention.

In November, the Group of Lawyers for the Defense of Human Rights denounced that prisoners live in a space of 0.6 square meters, seven times less than the standard norms.

Since her arrival in office at the end of 2022, the interim Minister of Justice, Emmelie Prophète, adopted administrative measures against prolonged preventive detention, which she considered arbitrary and illegal, in addition to denouncing the degrading situation of the detainees.

Prophète reminded the prosecutors and deputies of their obligation to periodically visit the prisons and ensure that they are safe, clean and that the inmates’ health is not affected in any way.


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