|Correspond with us, including our executive editor, professor Yves A. Isidor, via electronic mail:|
|Want to send this page or a link to a friend? Click on mail at the top of this window.|
Must learndly read, too; in part, of intellectual rigor; in part, the repository of ultimate knowledge
|Posted Tuesday, July 11, 2006|
|6 accused in plot are held for trial in Florida|
|Haitian exile is arrested, to his compatriots'relief|
|Posted Monday, July 10, 2006|
|The immigration equation: Do illegal immigrants take jobs? Expand the economy? Drag down wages? Create opportunity?|
|Posted Friday, July 7, 2006|
|Ex-Haitian strongman gets $50,000 bail in Long Island case|
|By The Associated Press|
RIVERHEAD, N.Y., Jul. 7, 2006 (AP) Over the protestations of prosecutors and a human rights group, the murderous head of a Haitian paramilitary group from the early 1990s was ordered held on $50,000 bail Friday after his arrest in a mortgage fraud probe.
The bail for Emmanuel "Toto" Constant, 49, the 6-foot-4 son of a military officer, was set by state Supreme Court Justice Michael Mullen at an arraignment on charges of grand larceny, forgery and falsifying business records.
Prosecutors, citing Constant's 2000 murder conviction in Haiti and a pending lawsuit against him by three women who said they were gang-raped by his forces, had asked for his immediate jailing.
"The defendant's character and reputation for anti-social behavior and his association with a violent organization" necessitated no bail in the case, the state attorney general's office said in a six-page bail application filing.
Moira Feeney, an attorney representing the women in the gang rape lawsuit, echoed the prosecution's recommendation.
"We think he is a dangerous individual, and the safest place for him is to be in jail in Suffolk County," said Feeney, a lawyer with the San Francisco-based human rights group Center for Justice and Accountability.
Constant emerged as the feared leader of a right-wing paramilitary group, the Front for the Advancement and Progress of Haiti, or FRAPH, after Jean-Bertrand Aristide's presidency was toppled in 1991. FRAPH terrorized and slaughtered slum-dwellers loyal to Aristide between 1991 and 1994, according to human rights groups.
The most notorious incident was a 1994 massacre of residents in the Haitian beachfront town of Raboteau, where soldiers and paramilitary personnel burst into dozens of homes to beat and arrest local residents. People who fled were killed in the so-called Raboteau Massacre, although the number of deaths is unknown.
The attack was designed to break the will of Aristide supporters. In 2000, a Haitian court sentenced Constant to life in prison following his conviction in absentia for the slaughter.
But Edward Palermo, attorney for Constant, said the grand larceny charge did not warrant no bail.
"Grand larceny is a nonviolent felony," Palermo said. "Mr. Constant has no criminal record since coming to the U.S. They tried to take his alleged past history and use it to prejudice the judge."
Once Aristide returned to power in 1994, Constant fled to New York, living in exile while battling deportation. According to court papers, Constant worked exclusively for the last five years in real estate and admitted to investigators that he was involved in numerous fraudulent transactions over that time.
He was indicted, along with five other people, for a mortgage fraud linked to a four-bedroom home in East Setauket. The defendants stole $750,000 from a pair of financial institutions by using phony buyers for the home, authorities said.
Constant's take was $45,000, authorities said, and he faces 8 1/3 to 25 years in prison if convicted.
Palermo said family members were trying to post bail for Constant, who was jailed after his Wednesday arrest.
Feeney said her group, on behalf of the women in the gang rape lawsuit, has asked a federal judge to enter a default judgment against Constant because he has failed to answer a complaint served in January 2005. A hearing is scheduled next month.
|U.N. troops find 16 bodies in Haitian trash-filled capital|
|By The Associated Press|
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Jul. 7, 2006 U-N peacekeepers in Haiti have found the bodies of 16 people believed killed in a surge of gang violence.
It's the latest sign the Caribbean nation's capital may be slipping back into disorder after months of relative calm.
The U-N says the troops from Sri Lanka found the bodies in a southern Port-au-Prince slum. The slum has been the site of a recent spate of gunbattles between warring gangs.
A local human rights activist says the victims were civilians, not gang members, and apparently were shot to death in an hours-long gunfight among Haitian gang members fighting for control of the area.
Copyright 2006 Associated Press
|Posted Thursday, July 6, 2006|
|Aristide: Drugs, brutal murders, and millions of dollars|
|Ex-Haitian strongman Emmanuel "ToTo" Constant arrested in Long Island mortgage fraud case|
|By Tom Hays, Associated Press Writer|
NEW YORK, Jul. 6, 2006 - An elusive former strongman from Haiti - accused in a federal lawsuit of sanctioning systematic rape to silence dissent - has been arrested in a mortgage fraud scheme on Long Island, authorities said Thursday.
|This undated photo of Emmanuel Constant was released by the Suffolk County Police Department in Riverhead, NY, Thursday, July 6, 2006. Constant, 48, a former strongman from Haiti, accused in a federal lawsuit of sanctioning systematic rape to silence dissent, was arrested, Wednesday, July 5, in a mortgage fraud scheme on Long Island. (AP Photo/Suffolk County Police Department, Ho)|
Emmanuel "Toto" Constant, 49, who was arrested on Wednesday, was to be arraigned on Friday on charges of grand larceny, forgery and falsifying business records, said Robert Clifford, spokesman for the Suffolk County district attorney. The spokesman did not have the name of Constant's attorney, and there was no telephone listing for his Queens home.
Prosecutors plan to ask a judge to order Constant held without bail based on his notorious history in his native land, said Moira Feeney, an attorney with the San Francisco-based Center for Justice and Accountability, which brought the federal suit on behalf of three woman who claimed they were gang-raped in Haiti in the 1990s.
"We're thrilled that he's in custody, and we're also concerned he's a flight risk," Feeney said.
An indictment alleges Constant and five co-defendants defrauded a bank out of more than $1 million.
Constant has lived in exile in New York City since slipping into the United States in 1994. He reportedly sometimes stayed at the home of an aunt while working as a mortgage broker.
Federal officials have said that despite a 1995 deportation order, Constant has been allowed to remain in the United States because Haiti's judicial system has never stabilized enough to ensure he would be treated fairly.
Constant, the 6-foot-4 son of a military officer, emerged as the feared leader of a right-wing paramilitary group, the Front for the Advancement and Progress of Haiti, or FRAPH, after President Jean-Bertrand Aristide's presidency was toppled in 1991. Human rights groups say that between 1991 and 1994, FRAPH terrorized and slaughtered slum-dwellers loyal to Aristide.
Constant once boasted that he was a paid informant for the CIA. He also claimed he had the power of voodoo in him.
In 2000, a Haitian court sentenced Constant to life in prison following his conviction in absentia for a 1994 massacre of Aristide loyalists.
Lawyers for the women who claim they were gang-raped have asked a U.S. District Court judge in the coming weeks to enter a default judgment against Constant because he has ignored the case since being served a complaint in January 2005 and hasn't even hired a lawyer. A hearing is scheduled next month.
|Wehaitians.com, the scholarly journal of democracy and human rights|
|More from wehaitians.com|