Several detainees are said to have been shot to death at the National Penitentiary.

An unknown number of detainees, perhaps 10 or more, were reportedly killed at the end of the day on Wednesday at the National Penitentiary in Port-au-Prince when police officers and prison officials opened fire in their direction.

AHP obtained this information from the head of a human rights organization who claims to have confirmed the report from an officer of the National Penal Administration (APENA).

According to the APENA officer cited by the human rights official, some police officers were proceeding to transport corpses during the night toward unknown destinations with the idea of having them disappear without a trace.

The identities of the alleged victims are not available. The human rights official said that human rights defenders have found access to the prisons virtually forbidden to them over the past few months.

The violence reportedly began when some detainees started protesting their conditions of imprisonment as well as the fact that they have been held for months without being brought before a judge as required by the law.

Reporters from several radio stations of the capital who were present at the scene affirmed having seen police officers from the CIMO specialized unit and from APENA shooting at the detainees.

When reached by telephone and asked about the fact that police officers who are supposed to be providing security to the public reportedly opened fire on prisoners, police spokesperson Jessy Cameau Coicou said that she was not aware of the facts because she was at home.

Police officials have recently stated that a plot exists to murder prisoners.

The police had announced that they had transferred several detainees to other detention facilities.

[Source AHP, Haiti, 01Dec04]

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