Friday, November 30, 2012

Mystery Still Surrounds Young Man’s Death

by Kim Ives (Haiti Liberte)

Shots rang out during a demonstration on Nov. 16 on Rue Oswald Durand near the Economy and Finance Ministry Annex, in front of the State University’s Law School.

            Afterwards, Daniel Stanley Florestal, 19, lay dead. His body is still lying in the state hospital’s morgue.

            At first, students on the scene claimed that soldiers of the UN Mission to Stabilize Haiti (MINUSTAH) had shot and killed Florestal, whose name, they said at the time, was “Jonas.”

However, MINUSTAH denied all responsibility: “According to information received by MINUSTAH, a Haitian citizen was shot and killed during a gathering of people that took place today in the vicinity of the Faculty of Law in Port -au-Prince,” said a MINUSTAH statement. “The person was taken to the hospital and was pronounced dead later. Contrary to initial allegations, we confirm that no member of MINUSTAH fired on the person.”

            Meanwhile, Frantz Lerebours, spokesman for the Haitian National Police (PNH), told the Alterpresse news agency that the victim was a "thug" and that another man who had been with him, Leveque Sanon, had been shot and "is currently in the hands of the police."

            According to the version the PNH gave Alterpresse: "An individual killed the bandit who was assaulting another citizen. This version is contrary to initial reports that suggest that the individual was killed by agents of the [PNH’s] Corps for Intervention and Maintenance of Order (CIMO) and the MINUSTAH."

            But the police were responsible for the death of Daniel, according to a woman at the scene who spoke with Le Nouvelliste’s Roberson Alphonse: "MINUSTAH shot rubber bullets at us all morning," she testified. "But, I tell you, it was the PNH who killed the student."

            The victim had blood stains on the front and back of his shirt.

            Daniel Stanley Florestal lived with his mother in the Christ-Roi section of Port-au-Prince. He had not yet finished his secondary studies and was not going to school at the time. But he often turned out for student protests, and many students knew him.

            After he was shot, students loaded Daniel into the back of a pickup to take him to the hospital.

            Until now, Florestal’s family has refused to retrieve his body from the morgue. They say they are afraid and claim to have received many threats from people “close to the government.”

Daniel Stanley Florestal was shot during a student demonstration on Nov. 16.

Students loaded Florestal into the back of a pick-up which took him to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead. 

Photos by: Frantz Etienne/Haïti Liberté

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