Rights record

PORT-AU-PRINCE — Michel Forst, the former United Nations human rights monitor here is taking a swipe at the legal system as he leaves his post.

In an open letter sent to the Haitian press, he criticized the government for the continuation of arbitrary and illegal arrests, interference in the justice system and threatening journalists. There was no immediate response from the government of President Michel Martelly. But Forst welcomed an effort to overhaul the penal code and the appointment of a minister for human rights and the fight against extreme poverty.


Lottery scams

KINGSTON — The House of Representatives and the Senate have passed a bill calling for tougher prosecution of those involved in multimillion-dollar lottery scams that mostly have targeted elderly Americans.

The governor general is expected soon to sign the bill which will crack down on advanced fee fraud, identity theft and the use of technology for illegally accessing financial accounts. The measure also prohibits making threats and coercing victims over the phone. Those found guilty could face up to 20 years in prison.

Quake coming

KINGSTON — Geophysics professor Eric Calais of Purdue University is urging the authorities here to start longterm efforts to prepare for another major earthquake on the island where the seaside capital was mostly destroyed by a big temblor just over a century ago. Calais, visiting the island over four days as part of a mission with the United Nations Development Program, said most scientists agree that Jamaica will most likely be exposed to a quake with a magnitude of 7 or 7.5, capable of widespread, heavy damage.Kingston was destroyed and roughly 1,000 people killed in a 6.5-magnitude quake in 1907.


TV show fined

PORT-OF-SPAIN — Chief Magistrate Marcia Ayers-Ceasar fined Ian Alleyne, host of a popular crime show, nearly $4,700 but spared him jail time for airing a video of a sexual assault that authorities said illegally revealed the identity of the teenage victim. She said he should have been aware that he was violating the law even though he apparently was trying to help solve the crime by showing the video to viewers of his nightly Crime Watch show. Alleyne had pleaded guilty to three counts of violating the sexual offenses act, a section of which prohibits identifying victims of sexual assault.The company that owns CCN TV faces three counts of violating the sexual offenses act as well as violations to telecommunications law. The company has denied wrongdoing and is fighting the charges.