PARLIAMENTARIANS SAY 'DICTATORSHIP' IN HAITI
(Defend Haiti) - By Jonel Juste and Samuel Maxime
PORT-AU-PRINCE - Reacting to the arrest of Deputy Arnel Bélizaire (Delmas & Tabarre/Veye-Yo), the President of the Chamber of Deputies, Sorel Jacinthe (Moron & Chamberllan/Inite), says that this government is a dictatorship. Other parliamentarians, angry, say they will revoke the newly appointed cabinet.
According to the Haitian Constitution, ARTICLE 115, a member of parliament cannot be arrested while in office without authorization from the Senate or Chamber of Deputies, depending on the house to which the alleged sits; in this case the latter. This immunity does not apply in cases in which the member is caught in the act of a crime.
Jacinthe and other deputies say President Michel Martelly respects no one. Deputy Patrick Robasson (Thiotte & Grand Gosier/Inite) said before the arrest:
"Since the inauguration ceremony of the president it’s not just two unconstitutional actions that he has committed here."
"Do I feel threatened? Naturally. And it’s not me only. It’s all the bodies of society, even the press. He threatened the press already. Today it’s the parliament. Tomorrow it’s other institutions. And after that it is everybody."
When asked about the immunity of the elected representative of Delmas & Tabarre, Attorney General Léger said he has not seen the word “immunity” in the Haitian constitution. "We did not arrest a deputy but a fugitive from justice", he added.
The President left Haiti on Thursday for the United States for a medical evaluation, according to the Office of the President. DH reached the Press Secretary for the National Palace, Lucien Jura, who declined comment.
The Constitution of Haiti (1987):
ARTICLE 114: Members of the Legislature are inviolable from the day they take oath up to the expiration of their term, subject to the provisions of article 115 below.
ARTICLE 114-2: No member of the Legislature shall be subject to civil imprisonment during his term of office.
ARTICLE 115: No member of the Legislature may during his term be arrested under ordinary law for a crime, a minor offense or a petty violation, except by authorization of the House of which he is a member, unless he is apprehended in the act of committing an offense punishable by death, personal restraint or penal servitude or the loss of civil rights. In that case, the matter is referred to the House of Deputies or the Senate without delay if the Legislature is in session, and if not, it shall be taken up at the next regular or special session.