Human Rights Groups Oppose Parole for Haitian Death Squad Leader Convicted of Mortgage Fraud in New York

Albany, NY — Today, the Center for Justice & Accountability (CJA) and the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) filed a submission urging the New York State Board of Parole not to release Emmanuel “Toto” Constant.  The letter is accompanied by a dossier of evidence documenting Constant’s long history of violent human rights crimes.  CJA and CCR’s submission urges the Board of Parole to weigh his human rights crimes against any consideration of early release.

“In Haiti, the name Emmanuel Constant is synonymous with terror,” said CJA Staff Attorney Scott Gilmore.  “If Constant is released, there is a grave risk that he would retaliate against his victims and exploit Haiti’s political instability to revive FRAPH and other paramilitaries.”

“Constant should one day return to Haiti to be tried for murder, rape and other torture in his campaign of terror as head of a paramilitary death squad,” said CCR Legal Director Baher Azmy. “But if paroled now, he would be immediately deported, and the Haitian government and courts are not currently in the position to hold him accountable. We strongly urge the parole board not to release him.”

In July 2008, a N.Y. state court sentenced Constant to a maximum of 37 years for six counts of larceny and fraud carried out as part of a mortgage scheme.  But as CJA and CCR’s evidence shows, Emmanuel Constant is no ordinary fraudster.  Constant headed the paramilitary death squad known as “FRAPH” (Revolutionary Front for the Advancement and Progress of Haiti) during Haiti’s 1991–1994 coup d’état, which claimed an estimated 4,000 lives.  FRAPH brutally repressed political opponents of the military regime in Haiti.  Under Constant’s command, FRAPH orchestrated a systematic campaign of rape and other torture, arson, and executions against the residents of the poorest communities in Haiti.  FRAPH’s hallmark tactics were rape and the mutilation of victims.

Constant fled to the United States in 1994 when a Haitian court issued a warrant for his arrest for murder and torture.  From 1996 until his arrest by N.Y. state authorities for mortgage fraud in 2006, Constant enjoyed a comfortable life as a mortgage broker in Queens, NY. He was profiled in journalist Jon Ronson’s 2011 bestseller, The Psychopath Test.

In October 2006, CJA and CCR won a civil suit against Constant in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on behalf of three brave women who endured torture and sexual violence at the hands of FRAPH under Constant’s command.  Our clients won a $19 million judgment against Constant.  This horrific record of human rights abuses was cited by New York Supreme Court Justice Abraham Gerges when he sentenced Constant for fraud in October 2008.

Now, having served only seven years, Constant is due to appear for his initial parole hearing in February 2016.  If the Board of Parole approves his parole, he will become eligible for release on June 30, 2016.

“Constant should pay his debt to the people of New York,” said Gilmore.  “With Haiti’s justice system in crisis, his fraud sentence may be the only sanction he will ever face.”

About the Center for Justice & Accountability
The Center for Justice and Accountability is an international human rights organization dedicated to deterring torture, war crimes, crimes against humanity and other severe human rights abuses around the world through litigation, policy advocacy and outreach in pursuit of truth, justice, and redress for victims and survivors.

About the Center for Constitutional Rights
The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.

Media Contact: Lisa Cohen, (310) 395-2544,