The Miami Herald
Feb. 14, 2002

Haiti charges 14 as members of a kidnapping ring

                      BY MICHAEL NORTON
                      Associated Press

                      PORT-AU-PRINCE -- A journalist and 13 opposition political activists have been charged with belonging to a
                      kidnapping ring, a police spokesman said Wednesday.

                      At least six businessmen or members of their families have been kidnapped and ransomed in the past two

                      The arrests occurred Friday and Saturday. Sixteen were detained, but two were immediately released.

                      Evans Paul, leader of the opposition Convention of Democratic Unity party to which eight of the arrested men
                      belong, denied that the men could have been part of any kidnappings.

                      ''The police have cooked up another tall tale, to clamp down on the opposition,'' Paul said.

                      Police spokesman Jean-Dade Simeon said, ``It has nothing to do with politics. They were arrested on suspicion of
                      belonging to a ring of kidnappers.''

                      Police identified the license plate of the vehicle in which five suspects were arrested Friday as that of a vehicle
                      used in a recent kidnapping, Simeon said.

                      All five are members of the Convention of Democratic Unity, including former Rep. Jean Mandenave, who is an
                      executive committee member of the party.

                      Nine others were arrested Saturday at two private homes. Three of them are members of the Convention of
                      Democratic Unity party. Five are opposition political activists. The ninth is journalist Jennet Morin.

                      Wakimg Exume, newsroom director of the private Radio Magik Stereo FM where Morin works, said Morin was not a
                      member of any political party.

                      Opposition parties have been locked in a dispute with the government over the 2000 elections, which gave
                      President Jean-Bertrand Aristide's party victories in 80 percent of the legislative and local races.