The urgent need to organize special hearings in order to reduce the number of inmates in Haitian prisons

Défenseurs Plus, an organization for the promotion and defense of human rights, deplores the death of nearly a hundred detainees in the civil prisons of Port-au-Prince, Croix-des-Bouquets, Petit-Goâve, Jacmel, Les Cayes during the last three (3) months of the year 2022. Since the outbreak of sociopolitical troubles, the situation of the prisoners becomes more alarming and threatens the life of the detainees, es. Several deaths have been confirmed in recent months due to malnutrition and chronic diseases related to the lack of hygiene in the prison system. It has been reported an acceleration of cases of deaths related to the recrudescence of cholera at the civil prison of Port-au-Prince. Thus, it is worth recalling that the dysfunction of the judicial system is partly responsible for the death of these detainees. Moreover, some sitting and standing magistrates display irresponsible behavior while they continue to have all the privileges that confer their function as magistrates.
Prolonged preventive detention is a flagrant violation of the rights of a detainee, in accordance with the law of May 6, 1927 on the immediate appearance and the Code of Criminal Procedure in its article 182. This situation also violates the The right of access to justice is guaranteed by the Haitian constitution of 1987 (articles 24 to 27) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (article 14). Prolonged preventive detention persists and threatens the lives of people detained because of the inaction, incompetence and indifference of governmental and judicial authorities.
The dysfunction of the Superior Council of Judicial Power (CSPJ) as an administrative and disciplinary body of the judicial power, and the reappearance of the cholera epidemic have worsened the situation of the detainees. The subhuman situation in which our brothers and sisters live in detention is revolting and deserves the attention of all. The inability of judicial actors to comply with their obligations regarding the respect of procedural deadlines and judicial guarantees, are among the main causes of the worsening of the situation.
Taking into account these findings, Défenseurs Plus, an organization for the defense and promotion of human rights, recommends:
a) To the commissioners of the government and to the deans of the eighteen (18) jurisdictions of the country, to organize correctional hearings and special criminal hearings for the purpose of decongesting civil prisons;
b) To the government of the Republic, to ensure healthy food and medical care for the inmates in all the prisons and detention centers of the country;
c) To the government of the Republic, to put at the disposal of the judicial and police actors, adequate means for the smooth running of these special hearings in a record time.

Done at Port-au-Prince, on October 19, 2022

Director of Programs
Tel: 509 38 92 7055

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