3 Haitian nationals are suing the former mayor of their rural village in a Boston federal court.
Yesterday, the 3 Haitians filed a civil lawsuit against Jean Morose Viliena, the former mayor of the western Haitian village, Les Irois.
Viliena – who was mayor of Les Irois from 2006 to 2010, is accused of committing human rights abuses by using violence against political opponents and those who complained about how he governed the town of about 22,000 people.
The plaintiffs say Viliena murdered, tortured, and burned down the homes of 36 political opponents, and lead a militia that killed the brother of one of the plaintiffs, and brutally beat the 2 other plaintiffs during an attack on a radio station – leaving one blind and the other having his leg amputated.
Viliena fled to Massachusetts in 2009, but made multiple trips back to Haiti and continued to lead his militia. The following year, he and 19 co-conspirators were indicted in Haiti for murder, battery and property destruction. Viliena never faced trial but 6 were convicted in 2015.
Viliena is now a school bus driver and Uber driver in Malden, Massachusetts – where he fled to after Haitian courts began investigating him while in office.
The lawsuit was brought under the U.S. Torture Victim Protection Act – that allows foreign victims of human rights abuses to file lawsuits in the U.S. against foreign officials.
Jean Morose Viliena is the third Haitian national to be sued in a U.S. federal court for human rights violations.