Reminders that AP’s photo staff is among the greatest and most committed in the world are plentiful, and today’s Best of the Week winner is but the latest example.
Port-au-Prince photographer Dieu-Nalio Chery found himself at Haiti’s parliament on Monday, Sept. 23, covering a debate about whether to confirm a new prime minister handpicked by the country’s embattled president, Jovenal Moise. Video journalist Pierre-Richard Luxama and reporter Evens Sanon also were on the scene.
Haiti had been paralyzed for weeks in a showdown between the president and opposition forces who want to push him out over allegations of mismanagement and corruption. At the parliament session, things boiled over.
Angry protesters rushed pro-government senators as they arrived, prompting not one but two lawmakers to brandish pistols and point them at the crowd. As things grew dicey, Chery rushed to get his Kevlar vest and helmet — not normal equipment for covering a session of parliament.
That turned out to be a wise decision. When protesters threw dirt at pro-government Sen. Ralph Fethiere and tried to pull him from his car, the lawmaker began firing into the air and ground in an attempt to scare them away.
At least one bullet splintered into fragments and the shards lodged just beneath Chery's chin. Despite his wound, Chery kept taking extraordinary photos of Fethiere firing his gun, so close that he captured spent cartridges flying through the air.
Amid the danger and the bullets, Luxama too kept recording heroically, capturing dramatic video of senators being rushed away and the scenes of Chery being treated for his wound. That video was shared by hundreds of broadcasters around the world.
Chery’s photos were widely used with the story of his own shooting, dramatically illustrating Haiti’s current chaos and illuminating the acute dangers journalists like him, Luxama and Sanon face in covering it, a credit to their bravery and dedication.
Chery was flown to the neighboring Dominican Republic and underwent surgery to have the shrapnel fragments removed. Fortunately, he expects a full recovery.
For displaying remarkable dedication and courage in an volatile situation, and for capturing an extraordinary image of the man who wounded him, Chery is recognized with AP’s Best of the Week award.