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Anna Napoleon
Emmanorld Napoleon
Released by the commando.
Released from Fort Dimanche
Ulrick Jolly.
Released by the commando.
Died 21 years later
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The Knox Affair... Kidnapping

On Tuesday, January 23, 1973, Mr. Clinton Everett Knox, the US Ambassador in Haiti, was on his way to his residence in Pétion-Ville when a commando of one woman and two men ambushed him. Armed with guns and knives, the kidnappers forced the ambassador into their car and made their way to his residence. The ambassador was told that he would not be harmed if the Haitian Government released the 31 prisoners that are listed below. They also demanded that the government pay a ransom of $70,000.00 and that an airplane be made available to them for safe passage out of Haiti. The ambassador called to his residence the Chief of the Consular Section, Mr. Ward Christensen, and the negotiations began between the commando, the ambassador, the Haitian government, the US Embassy, and Washington.

The Kidnappers' Demand: Release the following 31 prisoners

1. Elizabeth Philibert
2. Guy Antoine
3. Francis Georges
4. Emile Almonor
5. Anna Napoleon
6. Rose
7. Laurette Badette
8. Josue Bernard
9. Jacques Magloire
10. Napoleon Victomey
11. Emmanold Napoleon
12. Ulrick Joly
13. Antonio Joseph.
14. Jean Napoleon

15. Frank Telemaque
16. Enar Francois
17. Roney Lapombay
18. Patrick Lemoine
20. Ronald Duchemin
21. Capotine Charlot
22 Angenor
23. Wilfrid Sanders
24. Ernest Renoir
25. Renald Duchene
26. Edmond Pierre Paul
27. Adrienne Gilber
28. Ruce Vincent
29. Destin Payant
30. Martelly
31. Ramon Lescouflair

The French Ambassador, Bernard Dorin, and the Canadian Chargé d’Affaires were very instrumental in resolving the issues during the negotiations that lasted more than 20 hours. For the first time the Haitian Press was able to transmit the news without censorship. The government did not interfere and allowed Jean Dominique, Marcus Garcia and Ms. Lacombe to exercise their freedom of expression as journalists. For the first time under the Duvaliers’ regime, the Haitian people had a taste of what free press is and how it functions in a free society.

At 11:00 a.m. Wednesday, the Haitian government agreed to release 12 prisoners from the list of 31, claiming that they did not have a record of the other 19 prisoners in any of their prisons or police stations. These 12 individuals were brought to Casernes Dessalines from Fort Dimanche and the National Penitentiary. General Breton Claude and Captain Emmanuel Orcel informed them that they were going to be released, thanks to the kindness of President Jean Claude Duvalier, and they had the choice to remain in the country or to leave that same afternoon. Five of the group chose to stay in Haiti. But, since this scenario was not part of the demands put forward in the negotiation process, the prisoners had no choice, but to depart.

At 2:00 o’clock, the 12 prisoners, were taken to the Military Airport Boeing Field to board a DC-6 Cargo plane. Outside the airport, a crowd of concerned citizens was already formed; journalists, as well as radio and TV reporters gathered to provide press coverage. Shortly thereafter, the 3 members of the commando and their hostages - the ambassador and the consul general- arrived by car with the Mexican and French ambassadors – The commando jumped on board the cargo plane and Ambassador Knox and the Consul Christensen walked with the Mexican and the French ambassador away for the airplane.

The doors were locked with everyone on board ready to go, but the plane stayed on the ground a couple more hours for fueling and maintenance. This delay created among the press and others present a high level of uncertainty and uneasiness, which became alarming and caused serious doubt about the flight ever leaving on that day with the group.

Finally at about six o’clock, the plane started moving slowly and then rapidly took off for Mexico City with the commando and the 12 rescued prisoners: Adrienne Gilbert, Jacques Magloire, Emmarnold Napoleon, Ulrick Jolly, Anna Napoleon, Rose , Elizabeth Philibert, Emile Almannor, Josue Bernard, Napoleon Victomey, Antonio Joseph, and Agenor.

Among the 19 whose presence in Haitian prisons and whereabouts were supposedly unknown on January 24, 1973 by the government of Jean Claude Duvalier. Ronald Duchemin was still alive on that date, incarcerated in Cap Haitian Jail. He was executed on March 25, 1976 in Fort Dimanche. Gerard Toussaint, Ernst Renoir and Laurette Badette were also detained in the Penitentiary National and were released on September 21, 1977, but they remained in the country. Patrick Lemoine was in solitary confinement in the same Casernes Dessalines, which was the focal point of the negotiations. He was also released on September 21, 1977 and expelled out of Haiti four days later. Two others had died prior to the kidnapping under the watch of the negotiating officers: Jean Napoleon on December 26, 1972 in Fort Dimanche, and Wilfrid Sanders had hung himself in Casernes Dessalines several months earlier.

Colonel Breton Claude was forced to retire in early 1974 from the army and died in his bed a few years later. Ambassador Clinton Knox left Haiti the day after the kidnapping for Washington and medical check; he did not return to his post. He retired shortly thereafter and died in 1980. To date, Emmanuel Orcel is still alive and free in Haiti.

Jean Napoleon
Died in Fort Dimanche



che on December 1972
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