Haiti protesters disrupt Amnesty Int'l presser
Lawyer Osner Fevry, left, speaks to Javier Zuniga, of Amnesty International, right, as Fevry and supporters of Haiti's former dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier interrupt a press conference by Amnesty International in downtown Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Thursday Sept. 22, 2011. The organization was expected to reveal new testimony from victims of the dictatorship and their relatives. Duvalier returned to Haiti in January from exile in France. He was ousted from Haiti in 1986 after a 15-year rule.(AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery) (Dieu Nalio Chery)
The 40-page report contains previously unpublished testimony by dozens of political prisoners who were jailed and tortured under "Baby Doc's" 15-year rule before he was chased into exile in 1986.
The three-member Amnesty team plans to present the findings to Haitian officials and foreign diplomats in an effort to speed up the stalled investigation and prosecution that began in January just days after Duvalier suddenly returned to Haiti.
"Please get out!" said Osner Fevry, an attorney long hired by political figures with ties to the Duvalier regime. "We don't need people to come to divide us."
"It's very frustrating," said James Burke of Amnesty International. "It's a shame we couldn't have a dialogue."
More than a dozen victims and family members showed up to describe oppression under the Duvalier, but they left because of the intimidation, Burke said.
Outside the hotel in downtown Port-au-Prince, some of the demonstrators paraded skulls and femurs that they said belonged to members of Duvalier's private militia who were persecuted after he fled. The bones, they said, were evidence of crimes committed after Duvalier's ouster.
Duvalier attorney Reynold Georges said that Amnesty investigators ignored post-Duvalier crimes for political reasons.
"Duvalier is being persecuted in his own country," Reynold Georges said. "I have a client to defend, in the tribunal or wherever."
The Amnesty report urges Haitian authorities to acknowledge responsibility for past grave human rights violations and calls on President Michel Martelly as the head of state to issue a public apology to the victims. It also calls for a thorough investigation into the case and for plaintiffs to receive legal assistance.
Duvalier, the son of Francois "Papa Doc" Duvalier, was tapped in 1971 to serve as president when he 19. Duvalier was ousted from Haiti 15 years later, marking an end to a brutal period during which political opponents were jailed and tortured and his private militia, the Tonton Macoutes, terrorized the population.