PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (HCNN) -- A Haitian press freedom watchdog, SOS Journalistes, strongly condemned on Monday death threats and a plot to kill a prominent journalist working for Haiti's most popular radio station, Caraibes FM, causing outrage among fellow journalists in the Caribbean country, once governed by brutal dictators.
Jean Monard Métélus
The plot, to kill well-known and influential journalist and talk-show host, Jean Monard Métélus, was denounced on Friday by Haiti's Justice Department, explaining that the plot was hatched by a sector opposed to upcoming legislative and local elections.
"We are profoundly troubled by such developments and it is outrageous to see how threatened a journalist can be just because he is exercising his right to free speech," Joseph Guyler C. Delva, who heads SOS Journalistes, told HCNN.
Last week, unknown wrongdoers loosened the nuts on Métélus' vehicle's wheels, apparently with the intention of killing him through a contrived accident.
According to the Justice Ministry, the perpetrators, who have not been clearly identified, have hired two motorcyclists and paid them $10,000 to execute the plan.
SOS Journalistes called for a thorough investigation into the issue in order to identify, prosecute and punish the plotters and their accomplices.
"One way to deter future plotters is to arrest and punish those who were planning to kill Jean Monard," said Delva.
"Because we don't want to count other journalists assassinated just as it was the case for Jean Dominique and others," he said.
"And it is the responsibility of the Haitian government and the judicial system and Haitian police to act in that regard," Delva added.
SOS Journalistes "believes press freedom and freedom of expression are a founding and inescapable asset of democracy, which can only be challenged by enemies of basic human rights and of the rule of law, desired by the Haitian people."
SOS Journalistes urged journalists and media in Haiti and around the world to join in solidarity with Métélus and others threatened only because they are exercising their undeniable right to free speech, read a communiqué issued on Monday by the press freedom organization.