Saturday, December 17, 2005

Haitian Priest and Prisoner...Who Cares?

Subject: Haiti and Father Gerard Jean-Juste
Dec 15, 8:54 PM ESTHaitian Priest Said to Need U.S. Doctor By ALFRED de MONTESQUIOU Associated Press WriterPORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (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 prosecutor.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 candidacy.Haiti's national elections are scheduled for Jan. 8.© 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy.

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