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UN rights official blasts Haitian justice system

[JURIST] Louis Joinet, a UN official assigned to oversee the human rights conditions in Haiti [JURIST news archive], on Tuesday sharply criticized the Haitian justice system for detaining hundreds of people without charge, including Reverend Gerard Jean-Juste [BBC report], a political leader and member of the political party of ousted president Jean-Bertrand Aristide [BBC profile]. Joinet characterized Jean-Juste as a political prisoner. Although the prison population in Haiti is unknown, the National Penitentiary in Port-au-Prince currently holds more than 1,700 prisoners, only a few dozen of whom have been charged. In February, the National Penitentiary was the site of a serious prison riot [JURIST report]. In October, the UN warned [JURIST report] that the human rights situation in Haiti had become "catastrophic". AP has more.

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