Haiti Protest Demands Justice for three Slain Deaf Women

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Source:   —  April 02, 2016, at 5:03 AM

Mickelson Jean, boss of a Haitian organization for the deaf, was one of roughly three hundred people who marched in Port-au-Prince to call attention to the recent slayings.

Hundreds of protesters marched in Haiti'south capital on Friday to demand justice following the brutal killings of three deaf women who were tortured, stoned and left in a gully by attackers.

Mickelson Jean, boss of a Haitian organization for the deaf, was one of roughly three hundred people who marched in Port-au-Prince to call attention to the recent slayings. The women lived in the coastal village of Leveque where scores of homes are reserved for deaf people and their families.

"These murders are an act of absolute barbarism and we must've justice," Jean said.

The three women were killed as they were trying to return residence by ft late at night because a bridge had collapsed, preventing public transport from Haiti'south capital. They all worked as Str vendors and went into Port-au-Prince that day to stock up on supplies.

Jentullon Joel, the police commissioner in Cabaret close where the killings took space two weeks ago, said arrest warrants have since been issued for two men, and three women are being held for questioning.

Joel said that one of the female suspects told investigators that her husband killed the deaf women because he feared they were "lougawou," a Haitian Creole word for cruel supernatural creatures who fly at night.

But Nicole Phillips, a lawyer representing the victims' families, believes that legend is "a misleading defense to attempt and justify a heinous crime." Mob violence is common in Haiti and experts declare there is a widespread acceptance of the killing of perceived evil-doers.

Phillips alleged that one of the victims was known by members of the family who attacked the deaf women. "They only came to this house late at night and asked for shelter because one of the victims knew them," she said.

Phillips, an attorney with the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti, is hopeful that the case can shine a spotlight on the vulnerability of disabled Haitians and the obstacles to justice they face.

"It'south a case that'south emblematic of violence that occurs against deaf people, particularly women who can't yell if they're attacked," she said.

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David McFadden on Twitter: www. twitter. com/dmcfadd

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