April 4, 2000
President of Haiti
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is writing to express its deep sorrow over the recent assassination of Jean Léopold Dominique, owner and director of the independent station Radio Ha•ti Inter, and of the station's security guard, Jean Claude Louissaint. We call on Your Excellency to ensure that this heinous crime is investigated and its authors brought to justice.
Shortly after 6 a.m. on April 3, Dominique arrived at Radio Ha•ti Inter to host the 7 a.m. news program, according to CPJ's sources in Haiti. After Louissaint opened the gate to the station's premises, which are located along the road from Port-au-Prince to the suburb of Pétionville, Dominique parked his car inside. As he was about to enter the radio station, a single gunman entered the compound on foot and shot him seven times.
The gunman then fired two shots at Louissaint before escaping in a Jeep Cherokee that had been waiting for him.
The assassin was apparently spotted near the station before Dominique's arrival, although his weapon was not visible at that time. Minutes after the attack, Dominique's wife, Michele Montas, arrived at the station in a separate car and found the wounded bodies of her husband and Louissaint. The police reached the scene before long and rushed both victims to the Haitian Community Hospital in Pétionville, where they died of their wounds.
Dominique, 69, was Haiti's most prominent political journalist and a veteran advocate of free speech. He was also considered one of Your Excellency's close political allies. The motive for his assassination is unclear at that time; as of this afternoon, no arrests had been made. Meanwhile, Radio Ha•ti Inter has been closed down for an indefinite period.
CPJ urges Your Excellency to see to it that these murders are fully investigated. We would welcome any additional information that authorities might uncover.
Ann K. Cooper