Fifteen people were shot dead, including a journalist and an opposition political activist, on the night of Tuesday June 29 to Wednesday June 30 in the Haitian capital, the director of the Haitian national police said.
The photos of the lifeless bodies of the journalist of the Vision 2000 radio station Diego Charles, on the ground, and of Antoinette Duclair, feminist activist and committed for the opposition party Matrice Liberation, at the wheel of his car, circulated on Haitian social networks from the early hours of the morning. Both victims were 33 years old.
“In reaction to the assassination of Guerby Geffrard [un policier tué quelques heures plus tôt], his allies concocted the shooting this morning which resulted in the death of fifteen peaceful citizens ”, said the director, Léon Charles, during a press briefing, without providing details to support his statement.
Killed a few hours earlier in the district of Port-au-Prince where the night shooting took place, Guerby Geffrard was the spokesperson for the police union SPNH-17, in open conflict with the central administration of the police forces. The director general of the Haitian national police says an investigation has been opened “To trace all the perpetrators and co-perpetrators of the crimes committed”.
Murders of unsolved journalists
The accusations made by Léon Charles have drawn criticism from journalists and civil society organizations, who doubt their veracity. “Come so easily to say “we know that the double assassination of Diego Charles and Antoinette Duclair comes from this union”, we think that it is to act with a lot of haste and above all a lot of lightness ”, reacted Marie-Rosy Auguste Ducena, of the National Network for the Defense of Human Rights.
Following the assassination of their colleague, media professionals in Haiti are under no illusions. “As always, we will have the judicial authorities who will announce investigations that will never be successful. We are used to that “, reacted Jacques Desrosiers, secretary general of the association of Haitian journalists.
Emblematic, the case of the assassination, in April 2000, of the famous Haitian journalist Jean Dominique has still not been resolved. “There was no justice for Jean Dominique as there will be no justice for Diego. We are on our own “reacted Assad Volcy, president of Gazette Haiti, online media for which Diego Charles, reporter for Radio Vision 2000, had been working for 2 years.
Photojournalist Vladjimir Legagneur has never returned from a report he went to do, in March 2018, in the Martissant district today the scene of clashes between gangs. Police have still not released the results of a DNA test reportedly carried out days after his disappearance on the remains of a body.
The investigations into the murders of two journalists, assassinated in June and October 2019, have also not been successful to date.
Multiplication of clashes between armed gangs
The brother of a famous Haitian singer is also among the victims of the shooting in Port-au-Prince. “Maxnold Guillaume, my big brother also took a bullet last night. My father just called me to tell me he died in the hospital. My heart is torn ”, testified Rutshelle Guillaume, in Creole, on his very popular official accounts.
The shooting comes as the gang’s stranglehold on Haiti has worsened since the start of the year. Since June, clashes between armed gangs in the west of the capital have pushed thousands of residents of poor neighborhoods to flee their homes.
“We are in a situation of denial of human rights, of trivialization of life. (…) We cannot continue like this counting corpses every day ”, denounced Marie-Rosy Auguste Ducena.