Six Haitian opposition members charged with treason
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) -- Haitian authorities stormed a suburban
house and arrested six members of a minor opposition party on treason
and terrorism charges, police said Thursday.
The six men were arrested Tuesday by a special police force in Carrefour,
the southern outskirts of Port-au-Prince, police spokesman Jean-Dady Simeon
They included 46-year-old Lucien Gervais, who heads the United Forces for
National Liberation, and other members of the group opposed to President
Jean-Bertrand Aristide and his ruling party.
Leaders of two other opposition parties, including former dictator Prosper
have been arrested on various charges in the past month.
And in the last two weeks, about 50 Haitians, mostly women and children,
taken refuge in the Dominican Republic, seeking U.S. asylum to flee what they
claim is political persecution by Aristide supporters.
One of those seeking asylum is presidential candidate Paul Arthur Fleurival
ran against Aristide in the November elections.
The series of events is just "part of a tactic designed to harass and eliminate
and all opposition to Aristide," said Gervais' American wife in a telephone
interview from El Salvador.
Police said they suspected her husband was planning a bombing campaign
similar to bomb blasts in the run-up to November presidential elections that
killed two children and injured about 20 people.
Police said they found material for making explosives in the house where
arrested Gervais -- material Mrs. Gervais believes was planted.
Mrs. Gervais, 47, lives in El Salvador and was not in Port-au-Prince at
but she said, "What I know of my husband is that he would never put in danger
any innocent lives under any circumstances."
Gervais is in a Port-au-Prince jail and no hearing has been scheduled yet,
She said her husband grew up in a family heavily entrenched in Haiti's
He lived for a few years in the United States, served in the U.S. military and
then returned home to join the government of coup leader Lt. Gen. Henri
Namphy. Namphy seized power shortly after Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier
was forced into exile in 1986.
Although police said Gervais was not charged in last year's bombings,
government spokeswoman Michelle Karshan said "there is credible information
that implicates him."
Gervais had been in Haiti for more than a year, trying to build opposition
Aristide and to form economic cooperatives to help ease the Caribbean
country's endemic poverty, his wife said.
His political group is not part of the 15-party opposition alliance Convergence
but, like the coalition, Gervais' group boycotted last year's presidential ballot
after tainted legislative elections.
Hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign aid were frozen as a result
country has suffered a political impasse for months, with Convergence
demanding new general elections.
This week, the Organization of American States endorsed a proposal by Aristide
promising new partial legislative elections by the end of the year.
But skeptical opposition leaders have rejected the plan.
Copyright 2001 The Associated Press.