PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — The government of President-for-Life Jean Claude Duvalier said last week that there are no political prisoners left in Haiti.
A communique from the Ministry of Police dated April 30 but made available last week said, "There are no more political prisoners in Haitian jails."
The government daily Le Nouveau Monde reported Tuesday that 36 political prisoners, among them 15 agronomists who worked for U.S.-sponsored development projects, had been freed. It was not possible to determine how many prisoners, if any, remained as the government does not publish such figures.
A number of relatives of the dozens of Haitians who have been reported missing in recent years expressed surprise at the government's statement.
At the end of a visit to the island last month, Walter E. Fauntroy, non-voting District of Columbia delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives, expressed concern about the number of prisoners jailed in Haiti without having been processed and warned that the government's poor human rights record could lead to restrictions on U.S. aid.