Former Haiti mayor sued for for human rights abuses in U.S. court | Miami Herald

“The problem in Haiti … is if you have political connections, you can literally get away with murder,” said Scott Gilmore, a human rights attorney with the Center for Justice & Accountability. “You can be handpicked to return to office.”Viliena could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Gilmore said Viliena is being sued under the Torture Victim Protection Act of 1991, which gives foreign victims of human rights abuses the right to sue in U.S. courts whenever the perpetrator is found in the United States. He lives in Malden, Mass., and works as a licensed school bus driver, Gilmore said.“

He also appears appears to be working as an Uber driver,” Gilmore said, noting that Viliena’s Facebook profile said he studied at Bunker Hill Community College, though he was notified of the lawsuit Thursday on the campus of the University of Massachusetts, Boston.

The lawsuit alleges that after his 2006 election as mayor, Viliena led an armed militia in a campaign of terror against media activists and human rights defenders in Les Irois. In 2007, his supporters led a reprisal attack against a human rights activist after the activist denounced him in court for assaulting a neighbor. The attack led to the death of the activist’s brother, who was slashed with a machete before being shot to death.

Source: | Miami Herald

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