June 7, 2001

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, on
                 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 Avril,
                 have been arrested on various charges in the past month.

                 And in the last two weeks, about 50 Haitians, mostly women and children, have
                 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 who
                 ran against Aristide in the November elections.

                 The series of events is just "part of a tactic designed to harass and eliminate any
                 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 they
                 arrested Gervais -- material Mrs. Gervais believes was planted.

                 Mrs. Gervais, 47, lives in El Salvador and was not in Port-au-Prince at the time
                 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, Mrs.
                 Gervais said.

                 She said her husband grew up in a family heavily entrenched in Haiti's politics.
                 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 to
                 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 and the
                 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.