'Baby Doc' charged with corruption on return to Haiti
Two days after returning to an astonished Haiti after almost 25 years of exile in France, former dictator Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier was charged with corruption, theft, misappropriation of funds and various other crimes last night, in relation to allegations of mass brutality and unfettered corruption during his 15 years of rule.
The latest act in the Duvalier drama began when the country's top prosecutor and its most senior judge arrived at the hotel where he had been hiding out since arriving on Sunday evening. Scores of police took positions outside the hotel and a prison van parked across from its entrance.
Shortly afterwards, the ex-despot, who was just 19 when he assumed power as "president for life" from his father, Francois "Papa Doc" Duvalier in 1971, was led out of the building and bundled into a waiting vehicle. He was not wearing handcuffs and when journalists asked if he was being arrested he remained silent while his long-time companion, Veronique Roy, laughed at the question. Reuters reported that Duvalier had been taken into custody for additional discussions about the possibility of his being prosecuted for crimes committed when he was in power before he was driven to exile in France by a popular uprising in 1986.
"His fate is now in the hands of the investigating judge. We have brought charges against him," said Port-au-Prince chief prosecutor, Aristidas Auguste. A judge will now decide whether to prosecute him.
Human rights groups insist Haiti should try him for crimes committed under his and his father's regimes. According to Human Rights Watch the father-son duo ordered the deaths of between 20,000 and 30,000 civilians while they bled money from the state.
"Official torture and murder were commonplace under both father and son," it said. "The Duvaliers stunted civil society with harsh repression of any signs of independence among political parties, trade unions and the press."
There is still no clear information on why Duvalier came to Haiti or how long he intended to stay.
"Let's see if they put him in prison," Henry Robert Sterlin, a former Haitian ambassador under the Duvalier regime and a de facto spokesman for him, said in Port-au-Prince after his detention by police. In theory, the sudden appearance of Duvalier on Haitian soil makes it far easier for the authorities there to pursue charges against him.
But the damage done by last year's earthquake and an impasse left by inconclusive presidential elections last November have left the apparatus of state more tattered than ever and mounting a case may be beyond the means of Haiti. "He will be questioned and he will remain at the disposal of the judicial system," a government official said. "They will determine whether to prosecute him."
While some in the crowd outside the hotel booed Baby Doc as he was led out, others cheered and chased the vehicle as it carried him away.
The scene was a reminder that the ex-president may still have some backing in the country. While Baby Doc is remembered worldwide for greed and butchery, many in Haiti were not alive during his rule and have no memories of his rule.
Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift
Follow the latest events from this Champions League fixture
Like Madonna, Sister Cristina Scuccia's video is also set in Venice
Singer says the track was 'force-fed down people's throats'
techThe original free dating app will remain the same, developers say
- 1 Jack the Ripper: Scientist who claims to have identified notorious killer has 'made serious DNA error'
- 2 Banksy arrest hoax: Internet duped by fake online report claiming artist's identity has been revealed
- 3 Drink alcohol and eat meat to improve male fertility - but cut down on coffee, studies suggest
- 4 Former East 17 frontman Brian Harvey turns up at Downing Street and 'demands to speak to Prime Minister'
- 5 The inventor of the Facebook 'like' button says he never made a 'dislike' button because he feared the 'unfortunate consequences'
Ukraine crisis: Donetsk 'tactical missile' explosion at factory sends blast wave across rebel-held city
Jack the Ripper: Scientist who claims to have identified notorious killer has 'made serious DNA error'
Oscar de la Renta dead: Legendary US fashion designer dies after long cancer battle aged 82
Banksy arrest hoax: Internet duped by fake online report claiming artist's identity has been revealed
Super-sized ships arrive in Britain: How big can they get?
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'
Lord Freud: Tory welfare minister apologises after saying disabled people are 'not worth’ the minimum wage
Lord Freud hangs on as MPs of all parties 'call for his head' over disability comments
Competitive: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Chelmsford a...
£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...
£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...
£23000 per annum + pension and 22 days holiday: Ashdown Group: An established ...