Sunday, May 20, 2012

Haiti: Americans Arrested Wearing Military Apparel During Protest in Capital

US citizens Zeke Petrie, 39, of Barberton, Ohio, and Steven Shaw, 57, of Massachusetts, were both arrested in Port-au-Prince on Friday (May 18) for driving vehicles with protesters who were advocating the return of Haiti's disbanded army. Both were wearing apparel associated with the banned military unit.

COMMENT: Ex-soldiers and supporters of the disbanded army have been urging President Michel Martelly to honor his campaign goal of restoring the armed forces, which was abolished in 1995 because of its abusive human rights record. 
Unfortunately, foreign nationals who are old enough to know better should understand the potential ramifications of being arrested in a foreign country on grounds of interfering with the local political process, considering Haiti's turbulent history and poor human rights record. Such actions could very well cause them to be minimally deported and denied a visa in the future and potentially face severe fines and/or imprisonment.