Saturday, April 18, 2015

Infamous Alleged Murderer Kidnapper Sonson Lafamilia Released

Haiti: Infamous alleged murderer kidnapper Sonson Lafamilia released

Woodly Etheart aka Sonson Lafamilia of Gang Galil [file]
Woodly Etheart aka Sonson Lafamilia of Gang Galil [file]
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti ( - Woodly Etheart, also known as Sonson Lafamilia, and leader of Gang Galil, was released from prison on Friday after being brought before Judge Lamarre Belizaire.


April 16-17, 2015: Marie Yolene Gilles of the National Network for the Defense of Human Rights explains the illegal attempt to release Sonson Lafamilia.
Etheart and Renel Le Recif were arrested for the kidnapping of American citizen and businessman, Samy El Azi, and demanding a ransom of $2.5 million [US].

For years Gang Galil had operated with impunity, according to the National Network for the Defense of Human Rights (RNDDH). But not when the U.S. Embassy got involved.

It pit former Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe, wanting to prove himself a man of the rule of law, and President Michel Martelly, wanting to install a dictatorship, in a conflict that played out in the news.

Thousand are imprisoned in indefinite pretrial detention, meaning they had not had formal charges brought against them or appeared before their judge within 48 hours as Haitian law prescribes. Some have been there decades. This took back RNDDH which denounced Michel Martelly for his efforts in trying to expedite the trial of Lafamilia. Etheart had priors, numerous, even in flagrant delicto, of things such as extortion, drug-trafficking, kidnapping and murder.

Lawyer Newton Saint Juste intervened on the issue and outlined the laws broken in order to bring Etheart before Judge Belizaire. A critical motion in the case had been accepted by the Court of Appeals, therefore a lower court could not adjudicate before a decision from the higher court. Furthermore, the case was not assigned to Belizaire. Lafamilia would be a fugitive of justice according to Saint Juste.

Etheart is close to the Martelly National Palace and provided security for the president’s son Olivier. He also had a restaurant located in the National Palace according to sources.

Former Chief of Police Mario Andresol recalled his astonishment to find Etheart out of prison and working at the National Palace. As Chief of Police in Petion-Ville in 2000, Andresol's officers stopped Etheart in his vehicle to find him with over a million dollars in cash and a corpse in the trunk.
Judge Belizaire has been embattled since his appointment. It was immediately denounced by the Superior Council of the Judiciary (CSPJ) in 2012. They had set a moratorium for the year and Belizaire had not had the requirements to be a judge. He was still allowed to be a judge since and has been at the forefront of all judiciary scandals.

The swearing-in of Belizaire was done by then-Minister of Justice, Jean Renel Sanon, known as zealot of the regime. Sanon would receive a vote of no-confidence from the Senate but remained until December 2014 for an unwillingness by Senate President Simon Dieuseul Desras to affirm a 14-6 vote of no-confidence by a Senate of 20 seats.

Sanon had assisted in the release of Etheart's wife against a judges orders. Government Commissioner Gerald Norgaisse released her in Sanon's official vehicle. He resigned the following day. Current Police Chief Godson Orelus accused of politicizing the force, stood by.

President Michel Martelly has regularly manipulated the Haitian justice system according to RNDDH. In March 2015, First Lady Sophia Martelly and son were irregularly exonerated on charges of corruption, embezzlement and usurpation of title. Earlier in that case, Martelly is accused of having joined other cabinet members in a meeting with Judge Jean Serge Joseph, who was the first to hold it. The judge had ordered the case to proceed. The President of the Republic and ministers were said to have been very rough with the judge. He died two days later.

In March, The New York Times reported on some of these facts in an article entitled Haitian Leader’s Power Grows as Scandals Swirl.

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