two months, the Haitian National Police (PNH)
have claimed to be looking for the powerful
leader of the recently busted “Galil Gang,”
which specialized in kidnapping and drug
trafficking. His name is Woodley Ethéart aka
Sonson La Familia, a very close associate
of President Michel Martelly. According to many,
he is now under the protection of Martelly
regime officials following the kidnapping of
businessman Samy El Azzi on Feb. 17, 2014 in
Ethéart’s wife, Marie
Taïssa Mazile Ethéart, was also arrested and
jailed in Pétion-Ville, charged by an
investigating judge with laundering money
obtained from illicit drug trafficking and
kidnapping. On Mar. 29, 2014, she was illegally
released from prison with the complicity of
Acting Government Commissioner Gérald Norgaisse,
who has since resigned.
The questions now arise:
where are Sonson La Familia and his wife? Are
they being protected by the Martelly government? Is the executive holding
justice hostage? Is there the rule of law in
Following Mme. Ethéart's
release, many judges
have denounced executive influence over the
judiciary. The sacred principle of separation of
powers is not respected, they say. The president
of the National Association of Haitian
Magistrates (ANAMAH) Durin Duret says that Marie
Taïssa Mazile Ethéart "is an indicted person who
is on the run."
The investigating judge
Jean François Sonel had detained Mme. Ethéart in
the civil prison of Pétionville, but she was
released by Mr. Norgaisse. The ANAMAH President explains
that only the judge in charge of the
investigation can order the release of the
accused. Judge Duret questioned the motivation
of the prosecution in this case but noted that
Judge Sonel should send the matter to the
Government Commissioner for an arrest warrant to
be issued for Mme. Ethéart.
Judge Duret said that the
law does not allow any other officer to
intervene in a case handled by an investigating
judge. Otherwise there would be “chaos,” he
said, calling Mr. Norgaisse’s action “illegal.” Mme.
Ethéart is a fugitive, Duret said, arguing that
any citizen can apprehend her.
Simon Desras now accuses the Martelly regime of
“colluding with Mafia networks.” He called on
the press to investigate whether Sonson La
Familia has not taken refuge in one of the
commercial apartments owned by the President
"It is not a secret,
everyone knows the National Palace has turned
into a den of thieves,” Sen. Desras said. “What
is worse, Sonson La Familia is hiding in one of
the houses of President Martelly, and from his
hiding place he is appointing certain officials
for the executive in certain municipalities in
the country. In the town of Saut d'Eau, for
example, near my house, [Sonson La Familia]
recently appointed a driver for Renan Etienne to
city hall, a guy named Wisky Wisky, who is a
Galil Gang member."
Desras went on to
say that "the Senate fired an individual named
Patrick Joseph Sully for corruption, but he has
become, thanks to the so-called El Rancho
agreement, a Minister in the Martelly-Lamothe
government. He used to use the name of Deputy
Patrick Joseph to get money since they have
almost the same name: Patrick Joseph and Patrick
In any case, Woodley
Ethéart is not really a fugitive, but a protégé
of the current government of President Michel
Martelly and Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe
Salvador, said Pierre Espérance, Executive
Director of the National Network for the Defense
of Human Rights (RNDDH).
"He's here in the
capital, and it is they who protect him"
Espérance said in an interview with AlterPresse.
Haitian authorities "have Sonson La Familia in
their custody." They simply do “not want to give
him to justice," Espérance continued. This
behavior by government officials makes Haiti a
"bandit state, a rogue state, and a delinquent,"
where there “is anything but the rule of law,"
accompanied by her lawyer Claudy Gassant,
resurfaced on Apr. 9 at the Port-au-Prince
courthouse. Gassant returned to the court house
the next day. But Judge Jean-François Sonel
refused to meet them and asked for her to return
to the Pétion-Ville prison.
Government Commissioner Norgaisse resigned for
"personal reasons." He claimed he freed Mme.
Ethéart out of respect for humanitarian
principles. If that is so, why did he not act in
the same way for thousands of untried prisoners
suffering in the country's prisons?
executive is defying justice, and it also
challenges the judge when it carries out such a
dramatic release,” said Sen. Desras in his
office on Apr. 21, 2014. “The President of the
Supreme Court is a man enslaved, a slave of
Martelly. The National Palace is in collusion
with the bandits, kidnappers, and drug dealers.
If President Martelly cannot organize elections
this year, the Senate will call for his