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Press Release


  August 5, 2002

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), César Gaviria, condemned the acts of violence which occurred in the city of Gonaïves, Haiti, following the mass escape of prisoners last Friday, and called for the restoration of public order.

"The troubling developments in Gonaïves complicate an already uncertain situation in Haiti and make it even more difficult to resolve the political crisis there," said Gaviria, who is in Bogotá, Colombia, to attend the presidential inaguration. "It is imperative that the authorities reestablish public order and that all citizens recognize that the rule of law must prevail."

Gaviria called for the recapture of the dozens of escaped prisoners, including Amiot Metayer, who faces charges related to the political violence of last December 17. An OAS Commission of Inquiry appointed to look into those events had called for prosecution of all those involved in the December violence. The prison break was reportedly organized by armed supporters of Metayer.

"The new wave of violence and confusion in Gonaïves are of extreme concern to the international community as it continues its efforts to help Haiti bring an end to its political crisis and regain some stability," said Gaviria.

Reference: E-157/02