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Posted Saturday, April 14, 2007
Gunmen kill Haiti journalist with NYC paper
By Stevenson Jacobs, Associated Press Writer

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Apr. 14, 2007 -- A journalist with ties to ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide's political party was shot to death in his bed in northern Haiti, local radio reported Saturday.

Johnson Edouard, a correspondent for the pro-Aristide weekly newspaper Haiti Progres, which is based in Brooklyn, was killed before dawn Friday in the port city of Gonaives, 170 kilometers (105 miles) north of Port-au-Prince, reported Radio Kiskeya, citing relatives of the journalist.

Edouard, who also served as a spokesman for Aristide's Fanmi Lavalas party, was reportedly sleeping when gunmen broke into his home and shot him several times in the head and throat. The killers escaped through a window.

Police have yet to establish a motive or identify suspects. However, David Francois, a Fanmi Lavalas leader in Gonaives, called Edouard's killing "a political execution" in an interview with Radio Kiskeya. He gave no further details.

Aristide was forced to flee the country in 2004 amid a three-week rebel uprising that began in Gonaives, Haiti's third-largest city.

Many former rebels who helped overthrow Aristide live in Gonaives, which is also a base for armed gangs blamed for a string of recent killings.

Haiti Progres is distributed in Haiti and the United States. Its publisher was an ambassador-at-large under Aristide. Calls to the newspaper's office went unanswered Saturday.

Attacks on journalists are common in Haiti but have dropped since the 2006 election of President Rene Preval, according to the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists.

In January, freelance photographer Jean-Remy Badio was shot to death in a Port-au-Prince slum after receiving threats from gang members. Badio had photographed gang members days before his killing, which remains unsolved.

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