Haiti: the heavy toll of the mutiny at the civil prison of Gonaïves

Audio 01:32

Gonaives prison, Haiti.

© Ronel Paul / RFI

Text by: RFI Follow

2 mins

Mutiny at the civil prison of Gonaives, Thursday, January 26: twenty prisoners killed, several others escaped.

Human rights organizations report 27 dead against fourteen for the authorities.

In front of the prison, housed in a former deposit of the UN mission, several dozen citizens came to inquire, seeking to know if their loved ones were alive.


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With our correspondent in Port-au-Prince,

Ronel Paul

The day after the mutiny in the civil prison, a compact crowd observes a corpse lying on the ground, near the main entrance.

A little further on, we can see another body whose face has already been devoured by dogs.

Clinging to the prison barrier, this mother can no longer hold back her tears.

My son is 16 years old.

He was arrested during the looting scenes in Gonaïves.

I came to check, I heard that many prisoners died, I don't know if my son is among them.

A banner around the belt, this other mother is stunned.

She comes from Marmelade, 52 km from Gonaïves.

Her 17-year-old son has been incarcerated for three months, she fears he is among the victims.

My son's name is Luckson Pierre.

He was in cell number 1. He had fought in Puilboreau, then we had transferred him here.

I can't hold on anymore... 

A tablet in hand, Jean Rony Lima, human rights defender, collects information.

According to him, this escape was foreseeable.

When you have 560 detainees in four cells, with only two or three policemen accompanied by a few agents from the law enforcement unit who have not been trained for this, at a time when the national police are in rebellion against the he Haitian State, what is happening today is no coincidence.

At the time of the escape, 17 female prisoners at the prison were raped.

Among them, a woman who had just given birth and a minor.

►Also read Haiti: faced with the anger of the police, the commander-in-chief announces measures against gangs


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