Haiti, Haitian Times, Inglês



Gary Chéry is accused of releasing two men charged with sexually assaulting minors for about $6,000 and a car. The Substitute city attorney denies being accused amid growing calls for accountability.

“It’s deeply distressing,” said Djimps Joisile, an attorney and uncle to one of the victims. “He’s supposed to be the advocate for the less fortunate, he’s here to assist them. Instead, he’s the one causing harm. Children who’ve been sexually assaulted can’t find justice.”

CAP-HAITIEN — Gary Chéry, a substitute city attorney in Grande Rivière du Nord, a commune in the North department about 10 miles south of Cap-Haïtien, is accused of releasing two men from jail who were charged with sexually assaulting two minor girls, in separate incidents. Chéry allegedly released the accused rapists in exchange for bribes of about $6,000 and a car this month, an attorney informed The Haitian Times. Despite the accusations and calls for accountability from victims’ attorneys, families and residents, Chéry has denied the allegations.

When The Haitian Times contacted Chéry for an interview, he denied the accusations. Furthermore, the substitute city attorney issued a warrant for defamation on April 19 against an independent reporter, Donatus Henry-Claude (known as T Carry), who had written a Facebook post about his alleged bribes. Henry-Claude was arrested in Cap-Haïtien on Monday and then released on Tuesday.

Grande Rivière du Nord Nord’s Substitute City Attorney Gary Chéry issued a warrant against independent reporter Donatus “T Carry” Henry-Claude for defamation on April 19, 2024.

“I don’t have any accusations against me,” Chéry said in a WhatsApp message. “It’s a vagabond, a purveyor of fake news who had previously been arrested for defamation who is doing this. The guy is back in jail for the same crime.”

According to many observers, Chéry’s alleged actions of releasing criminals from jail for bribes and ordering the arrest of a reporter who criticized him highlight the issue of officials abusing their powers in Haiti. Officials often appear untouchable as it is challenging for them to face punishment for their crimes. This culture of impunity and corruption is a significant factor in Haiti’s ongoing crises, including gang violence.

An attorney requesting anonymity due to safety concerns claimed that Chéry unlawfully issued the warrant against Henry-Claude.

“This is total chaos,” the attorney said. “If Chéry believes that T Carry committed defamation against him, he should’ve submitted a request to the investigation office for a follow-up. The prosecutor’s office wasn’t even supposed to issue a warrant for defamation.”

 “He’s the attorney of the less fortunate people; he’s here to help them. But he’s the one hurting them. Raped children can’t find justice.”—

Djimps Joisile, attorney and uncle of one of the victims

The head of the bar and the city attorney in Grande Rivière du Nord have not yet responded to The Haitian Times’ interview requests regarding this issue.

Inactions persist despite calls for accountability against Chéry 

On April 16, residents of Grande Rivière protested against Chéry on the streets. They spray-painted “We’re tired of Gary” on the wall of the Prosecutor’s Office. Additionally, residents posted documents alleging Chéry’s bribes on walls and disseminated them on social media and WhatsApp as well.

According to lawyer Djimps Joisile, Chéry has not reported to work since the protests.

In one of the cases, Woodly Aguste allegedly kidnapped Joisile’s 16-year-old niece while she was at a park in Grande Rivière on February 12 around 9:30 PM. The teenage girl was in the park because her home doors were locked. Auguste offered to walk her home, Joisile reported.

When the girl noticed that Auguste was not leading her to her house, she protested. Auguste threatened to stab her if she continued to resist. Joisile claims that Auguste took the minor girl to his home, tied her up, and sexually assaulted her for three days. After a week, Auguste released her, and she was suffering from a vaginal infection.

Auguste was arrested on April 16 but released the following day after Chéry allegedly received $3,000 in exchange for his release. Joisile reported that Auguste was freed even though protests had erupted against Chéry the previous day.

Joisile added that on the day Auguste was released, he went to his victim’s home and threw rocks at her. Despite the ongoing harassment, the teenage girls have not received assistance from any regional human rights organization or minor protective service institution.

In another case, Alfred Pélicier, who was arrested for sexually assaulting his minor daughter, was also released this month after Chéry allegedly received 400,000 gourdes, about $US3,000. Chéry ordered Pélicier’s release even though the case was no longer under his jurisdiction, according to Joisile and the anonymous attorney.

A street, Rue du cimetiere, of Grande-Riviere-du-Nord, Haiti on Tuesday, July 4, 2023. Photo by Rejy Joseph Roc for the Haitian Times

The attorney also claimed that Chéry allegedly demanded payment in exchange for issuing warrants.

“Without even considering what you said, if you paid, he would give you a warrant right away,” the attorney said.

Residents have not yet lodged a formal complaint against Chéry, but Joisile stated that attorneys are preparing to file one with the prosecutor’s office.

“We’re working on filing a complaint against him,” Joisile said. “The residents won’t just stand by idly either.”



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