A Haitian journalist was killed Sunday in Port-au-Prince after being hit in the head by a teargas canister while protesting for his colleague’s release from police custody, a medical source told AFP.

Romelson Vilsaint had gathered with other members of the media outside a police station in the capital to call for the release of fellow journalist Robest Dimanche, who had been detained hours earlier.

A medical source told AFP that Vilsaint “spent a few minutes in the emergency room before dying.”

“According to the findings of the neurosurgeon, he was hit by a tear gas canister,” the source added. “His situation was very critical.”

The president of Haiti’s Online Media Collective, of which Vilsaint was a member, said police were to blame for his death.

“The police misused tear gas,” said Raynald Petit-Frere.

“I also saw a police officer use his assault rifle. I heard shots and then I saw the journalist lying in his blood.”

“He spent several hours before being taken to the hospital,” added Petit-Frere, who said he had also been beaten by the police.

The death of Vilsaint comes a week after the discovery of the body of Garry Tess, a radio host in southern Haiti, and an assassination attempt against Roberson Alphonse, an investigative journalist with Le Nouvelliste.

UNESCO condemned the assassination attempt against Alphonse and demanded that an investigation be launched into Tess’s murder.


© Agence France-Presse