Activist jailed at least four days for heckling PM
“He's obviously made some important people very angry.”
by Rachel Engler-Stringer
December 3, 2005
Yves Engler, a member of Haiti Action Montreal and a frequent contributor to rabble.ca, is being kept in jail over the weekend after he disrupted a speech by the Prime Minister Thursday morning shouting “Paul Martin lies, Haitians die.”
Crown prosecutors refused to grant his release when Engler appeared in court Friday, 30 hours after being detained. He will be in court again Monday.
“Keeping someone in jail for at least four days because he heckled a politician during an election campaign is completely outrageous,” said Nikolas Barry-Shaw, spokesperson for Haiti Action Montreal. “Has shouting at a politician become a crime in Canada?”
Noting that other people heckled Martin at the same time as Engler and that the PM has faced hecklers at many events, Barry-Shaw speculated the Liberal government is particularly sensitive about criticism of its policies in Haiti.
“Yves Engler has been extremely active in trying to make the Liberals accountable for their role in the overthrow of Haiti's elected government and the resulting human rights disaster,” said Barry-Shaw. “He's obviously made some important people very angry.”
Engler, who also threw confetti-sized pieces of a human rights report about Haiti into the air to symbolize the Liberal government's response to criticism from numerous respected organizations, said he was surprised by amount of time he was spending in jail.
“It's a strange world when Conrad Black is accused of stealing $80 million but has spent no time behind bars, while I heckled the Prime Minister and get locked up for at least four days.”
For further information: Bianca Mugyenyi or Nikolas Barry-Shaw (514) 969-2377 or Out of Haiti.