Haitian journalist who received death threats survives shooting

Luckson Saint-Vil, a journalist for the site Loop Haiti, was on his way home in southern Haiti when his vehicle was shot multiple times. He survived.

“I got out of my vehicle to check if everything was fine because I heard an unusual noise. That’s when I heard some blasts. Fortunately, I had the reflex to lie on the ground. Moments later, I got up and saw no less than seven bullet holes on the vehicle,” the journalist told Le Nouvelliste.

Photos of the vehicle published on the site Loop Haiti show bullet holes in a red vehicle that has a sticker on the windshield with the name of the media outlet.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Saint-Vil said he filed a complaint with judicial police days prior because he received death threats. They came after the journalist won the Philippe Chaffanjon Prize in June 2019 for a report on alleged links between violent gangs and authorities, and then appeared on television in relation to the award.

After being shot at on Aug. 6, Saint-Vil said he filed a formal complaint with judicial police for “attempted murder,” CPJ reported.

According to Voice of America, the journalist said he did not know whether the threats and the shooting were related.

Other journalists in Haiti have been the target of shootings in recent months.

The car of Kendi Zidor, reporter and columnist for newspaper Le National, was shot several times in Port-au-Prince in July. He had previously received threatening messages.

In June, Pétion Rospide, presenter for Radio sans fin, was killed while driving home in Port-au-Prince.

CPJ condemned the recent attack against Saint-Vil and urged an investigation into threats against him.

"The armed attack on Luckson Saint-Vil, the second of its kind in Haiti in less than a month, highlights the extremely serious risks for Haitian journalists reporting on sensitive topics," said CPJ South and Central America Program Coordinator Natalie Southwick, according to an organization release. "Haitian authorities cannot keep standing idly while journalists are violently attacked. They must show they are taking decisive action by investigating and ensuring that those responsible are brought to justice.”

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) said it joined affiliate the Association of Haitian Journalists (AJH) in "demanding immediate action from authorities to generate safe living and working conditions for journalists and the entire population."