Diaspora

Haitian deportees dying after cholera outbreak in prison – NorthJersey.com

A group of men deported to Haiti, including two from New Jersey, are pleading for freedom from a Haitian prison amid a cholera outbreak that has killed more than 20 prisoners, including a Florida man who was deported in April.
Roody Fogg, 40, died on Monday and two other deportees are severely ill just months after the U.S. sent them to Haiti, where they were imprisoned without charge, according to advocates and a fellow inmate.
“There was no medical care for him when he was sick,” Fogg’s mother said in an emailed statement. “If there was medicine, he wouldn’t have died … There, it’s like they threw him in a corner.”
The men were swept up by a U.S. policy to deport non-citizens convicted of a broad category of crimes. They served prison sentences in the U.S. before they were deported and were locked up upon arrival in Haiti.
Nearly 30 people have been detained at the National Penitentiary in Port-au-Prince. Haitian law enforcement officers have demanded thousands of dollars in payments from their families in the U.S.
Conditions were already severe in the prison system. Cholera poses an extreme risk in facilities where inmates face severe overcrowding and lack of clean water and medical care. Dozens of inmates died this year from malnutrition even before the cholera outbreak.
“The situation I’m in, I feel like basically I’m in my death bed,” said Billy Balisage, a detainee from Elizabeth, in a phone interview from prison Wednesday. “I can’t do nothing. I don’t know anybody in Haiti at all. There’s no nurses, no doctors. If you’re in pain, you’re just gonna die.”
Balisage, a father of three, was convicted of a drug-related felony in 1998 when he was 18. That made him a target for deportation years later.
Now 42, he worries about his survival in a prison that was built for 800 and today holds 4,000.
“Almost every day, somebody is dying in here,” he said. “At night, you hear the gates banging. People pass out. Last night, it was a couple of people. They were sick real bad and I don’t know if they died or not.”
Health Without Walls, which provides services to inmates, has reported at least 21 deaths and 147 hospitalizations from Oct. 4 to 11, nonprofit co-founder Michelle Karshan told the Associated Press.
Balisage was on the same flight to Haiti on April 5 as Fogg. He was sick for about a week and, unable to walk, had to be carried to a holding area for sick people, Balisage said.
Eleni Bakst, managing attorney with the Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights Coalition, spoke to Fogg’s cellmates. They said he suffered diarrhea and vomiting until he felt he could not stand anymore and “saw black.” They showered him and called for help. But he never saw a doctor or received medication, they told her.
Attorneys and activists have called on Haitian officials to end their detention and have urged elected officials in the U.S. to intervene. They said they have not gotten assistance.
‘It’s beyond hell up in there’:Families to rally for freedom for deportees in Haitian prison
The Record and USA TODAY Network first reported on the jailing of deportees in July. The imprisonment of deportees with criminal records is banned by international law and Haitian law, advocates said.
Balisage and another deportee, Patrick Julney, said they have not seen a judge or been to court. They were deported at a time of turmoil in Haiti, which faces rampant gang violence and the near-collapse of its government — conditions that grew worse last year after an earthquake and the assassination of president Jovenel Moise. Activists say it’s too dangerous to deport anyone to Haiti in these conditions.
Families are sending money to deliver food and clean water to their loved ones because it is not provided by the prison. They feel helpless.
Fogg’s mother, who declined to give her name, said she did not want others to suffer like her son. Roody Fogg entered the U.S. at age 12 and was a green card holder, she said. She declined an interview, and information about his crime was not available online.
 “I don’t want others to have to deal with this situation either. It is misery they are going through over there.”
“Keep trying, try for others not to die,” she said. “I don’t want others to be lost too.”

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