Monday, December 19, 2005

Press Conference in Port-au-Prince:

I forgot to mention that in between working at the clinic, attending to Jackson 24 hours a day, ministering to others who stop by in need of help, and ensuring that his wife is a happy Haitian visiter, John managed to attend and speak at a press conference last Thursday, coordinated by American attorney Bill Quigley. It was the usual: Amnesty International declared prisoner of conscience, Father Gerard Jean Juste, is sick with terribly swollen lymph nodes, which could mean a number of things. John has examined Father twice in prison, and with his permission made the results public.

John was so great at the press conference. He spoke in English and then in Creole. He said that Father is representative of many prisoners who are not receiving adequate medical care. John said that we love Father Jerry Jean-Juste and that we love the Haitian people. So true. C’est vrai.

Father Jean Juste has been jailed since July on the beyond dubious charge that he had something to do with the murder of journalist Jacques Roche. In reality, Father is a friend of Aristide’s an outspoken supporter of justice for the poor, and a possible candidate for Haiti’s presidential elections. The combination of these qualities make him in the words of a Haitian elite, “The most dangerous man in Haiti.” We are friends of Father’s and are very concerned about his health. This prompted John’s participation in the press conference at Father’s parish, St. Clare, and which you can read about in the AP article below.

Jean-Juste needs care in the U.S.

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Dec 15 (AP) -- A jailed Catholic priest who had been
considered a potential candidate for Haiti's presidency may have cancer and
should be released to seek medical treatment in the United States, his
lawyer said Thursday.

The Rev. Gerard Jean-Juste, a supporter of ousted Haitian President
Jean-Bertrand Aristide, has declined an examination by government doctors
because he doesn't trust them, attorney Bill Quigley told reporters outside
the jailed priest's church in the capital.

Dr. John Carroll, a supporter who examined Jean-Juste in jail, said the
priest has swelling in his neck and under his arms and an abnormal white
blood cell count, which are possible indications of cancer or an infection.
"Every day that goes by, we are wasting time," Carroll said. "If this is
indeed cancer, his life is in danger."

Michel Brunache, chief of staff for interim President Boniface
Alexandre, said government doctors had examined the priest and said there
was no indication that he had cancer.

Jean-Juste has been jailed since July, when Haitian authorities accused
him of suspected involvement in the abduction and slaying of a well-known
local journalist. Authorities later expanded the investigation to include
alleged weapons violations. The priest denies the allegations.

The investigating judge, Jean Perez-Paul, has declined to reveal his
findings but said he will soon forward his recommendations to a government

Jean-Juste, who has been compared to Aristide, a former priest, has
emerged as a prominent figure in the ousted president's Lavalas Family
party. Lavalas activists had attempted to register Jean-Juste as a presidential
candidate in elections, but Haitian authorities ruled he was ineligible
because he is in prison and could not appear in person to register his

Haiti's national elections are scheduled for Jan. 8.

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