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RAM members arrested during performance

Posted: Sun Nov 07, 2004 8:47 am
by admin
AP - 5 November 2004
Police detained three musicians in a popular Haitian band Thursday night while they were on stage performing, witnesses said.

The Haitian roots band RAM was performing a song titled "Justice !" about midnight at the Oloffson Hotel, when police came onto stage and detained three band members, witnesses said.

"The crowd was in shock. No one understood why this was happening," said Jean-Venel Casseis, a journalist with Haitian broadcaster Radio Caraibes who was in the audience.

District police chief Renan Etienne confirmed three were detained there, but could not immediately provide details. It was unclear why they were detained, or whether charges were pending.

"It's pretty strange people coming in at midnight to arrest people," band leader Richard Morse said. "No warrant, no explanation, no nothing."

The Haitian consti
tution requires warrants for arrests in most cases, and outlaws arrests between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m., but in recent weeks the government has used a loophole, citing ongoing crimes to waive the restrictions.

The band members detained, two drummers and one horn player, have all been with the band for years, Morse said. He said the three detained live in Port-au-Prince slums, all traditionally pro-Aristide strongholds.

Posted: Sun Nov 07, 2004 8:53 am
by admin
E pa li papa! Demokrasi bush la ap blayi sou teritwa a! Se pa nan katye popilè yo sèlman.

"The Haitian Constitution is working" dixit Bush. Menm je pete a fini pa wè l.

Si ou pat konn Jòj, wa konn Jòj!

From Richard Morse, RAM's leader

Posted: Sun Nov 07, 2004 9:38 am
by admin

The Haitian police came into the Oloffson last Thursday around midnight, during our show, and after a song called <Justiss>, grabbed three musicians and hauled them off to jail. Between midnight and 1am I called the Marine guard at the American Embassy but there was nothing he could do since the band members were Haitian. In the morning, I called the DCM and the American Ambassador but they wouldn't take my calls. The Ambassador's secretary connected me with the Consul General. I told the Consul General that I was going downtown to the police station and I just wanted someone to know my whereabouts. We considered going to the police station with a lawyer but were told by a policeman that there were 125 people in jail and they each had a lawyer, so we decided against the lawyer. Four of us went down to the police station. 3 musicians and a friend, and spoke to the policeman
in charge. Everyone was calm. The policeman showed us pictures of people on a wanted list, some who had dreadlocks. The band members who were arrested had dreads. Basically I told the officer that we had spent the Summer touring, which he knew, and he told us to go home and he would see what he could do. At 3 pm, the 3 musicians were released and driven to the Oloffson in a police car. A few bruises but happy to see friends and family.

RAM plans on performing Thursday night.
Richard Morse