- Title: Haitian supporters of senator-elect to protest his arrest and extradition to U.S.
- Date: 8th January 2017
- Summary: CAMPAIGN POSTER OF PHILIPPE
- Embargoed: 23rd January 2017 00:51
- Keywords: Guy Philippe arrest extradition drug trafficking DEA
- Location: PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI
- City: PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI
- Country: Haiti
- Topics: Crime/Law/Justice,Crime
- Reuters ID: LVA0055Y2ZUPZ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Haitian supporters of senate-elect Guy Philippe, the leader of a 2004 coup that toppled Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, and who had been wanted for more than a decade by U.S. authorities, were outraged as he was charged on Friday (January 6) in the United States with engaging in drug trafficking and money laundering conspiracies.
"Next Tuesday, the National Consortium for Haitian Political Parties and all of Guy Philippe's supporters will go before the United States embassy to demand the release of Senator Guy Philippe. We are using legal weapons, as allowed in the constitution and the laws of the country. And on January 13, we will return to the same place. We will not use any means of violence," said Jentel Joseph, the president of the National Consortium for Haitian Political Parties.
Philippe, 48, faces a three-count indictment, including conspiring to import cocaine into the United States, conspiring to launder money, and engaging in monetary transactions stemming from unlawful activity, the U.S. Department of Justice said.
Philippe was ordered held without bond at a hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry Garber in Miami, the Justice Department said.
The hearing came one day after Philippe was arrested in Haiti and extradited to the United States.
Deputy Ronald Etienne said supporters want a full investigation of how Philippe was caught and handed to U.S. justice.
"We are going to prepare to enter the parliament and to convoke the prime minister, the minister of justice and the foreign minister. They must all appear before the parliament to explain themselves regarding the manipulation of the police for personal motives," he said.
An arraignment is scheduled for January 13. The indictment dates from November 2005 and was made public on Friday.
"The indictment speaks for itself," Richard Dansoh, a lawyer for Philippe, said in a phone interview. "Be that as it may, there are some jurisdictional hurdles that we have to cross."
As to the accusations against Philippe, Dansoh said: "Clearly, he's not guilty."
Philippe's arrest came four days before he had been expected to join Haiti's parliament as a senator, after his Nov. 20 election from the country's southwestern Grand Anse region.
The defendant was arrested after he had given a radio interview in Petionville, near the capital of Port-au-Prince.
He was then taken to a police station, where U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents were waiting.
According to the indictment, Philippe conspired with others from 1997 to March 2001 to import more than five kilograms (11 lbs) of cocaine into the United States, and from June 1999 to April 2003 to launder money to conceal illegal activity.
Philippe was also accused of having in late 2000 transferred a $112,000 check that included sums from drug trafficking, the Justice Department said.
Human rights activist Pierre Esperance said there are many criminals holding public office in Haiti.
"In parliament, there are drug traffickers. There are also members of parliament implicated in kidnapping cases, human rights cases, rape and drugs. They are there in parliament, in the house of deputies, in the senate. That's why we like that they detained Guy Philippe. He is a criminal who could enter parliament," he said.
Joris Mergelus, head of Haiti's anti-drug unit, said Philippe was arrested after an international drug trafficking warrant.
The case is U.S. v. Philippe, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida, No. 05-20874.
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