National Lawyers Guild
Photo by Jim West, jimwestphoto.com
February 16, 2007
For Immediate Release
Moira Feeney, Esq., firstname.lastname@example.org, (415) 544-0444 x302
Pamela Merchant, Executive Director, email@example.com,(415)544-0444 x307
Susan M. Bass, Marketing Communications Manager for Holland & Knight,
LLP, firstname.lastname@example.org, (813) 769-4326
What: The trial against former Haitian Colonel Carl Dorélien for torture and extrajudicial killing is scheduled to begin on February 20, 2007 in Miami. The underlying lawsuit was filed by the Center for Justice & Accountability (CJA) on behalf of two survivors of human rights abuses. These courageous individuals have come forward against Colonel Dorélien to bring to light the atrocities that they and thousands of others suffered at the hands of the Haitian Armed Forces and death squads. CJA is joined by co-counsel from the firm of Holland & Knight. The trial is expected to last approximately one week.
United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, James Lawrence King Federal Justice Building, 99 NE 4th Street., Miami, Florida, Courtroom 2, 11th floor. Judge James Lawrence King presiding.
Tuesday, February 20, 2007, 9:00 a.m.
The defendant, Colonel Dorélien, was deported from the US in 2003 for his role in human rights abuses during the military dictatorship in Haiti from 1991 to 1994. Dorélien’s presence in the U.S. became widely known after he won $3.2 million in the Florida state lottery in 1997. Colonel Dorélien was a member of the high command of the Haitian Armed Forces until the restoration of democracy in 1994 and the subsequent disbanding of the army.
The plaintiffs are: Lexiuste Cajuste, head of Haiti’s largest workers’ rights organization during the period of military dictatorship, who was tortured for demanding the return of Haiti’s democratic government; and a woman who lost her husband during an infamous massacre in Haiti in 1994.
The plaintiffs are represented by CJA and Holland & Knight. CJA is a San Francisco-based human rights organization that works to end impunity by bringing to justice perpetrators of human rights abuses, especially those who live in or visit the United States. www.cja.org
Holland & Knight is among the world's 15 largest law firms, providing representation in litigation, business, real estate and governmental law.
CJA Executive Director Pamela Merchant explains, "After waiting more than 12 years, our clients will finally have their day in court, and, for the first time, one of the many high-ranking members of the Haitian Armed Forces who found refuge in the U.S. after the restoration of democracy to Haiti, will have to answer to a U.S. jury for the allegations of widespread and severe human rights abuses."
For more information and background on the case, click here.
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