Haiti charges 14 as members of a kidnapping ring
BY MICHAEL NORTON
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.