Haiti’s ex-dictator freed after arrest

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Port-au-PRINCE - Haiti’s ex-dictator Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier was arrested Tuesday on charges of corruption brought by the Haitian government, but was released after six hours of proceedings and grilling by the public prosecutor.

“He’s free,” Duvalier’s lawyer Gervais Charles, told Radio Metropole after the public tumult that followed Baby Doc to and from the Palace of Justice.

But Duvalier, 59, must remain at the disposal of the justice system, his lawyer confirmed.

No formal charges were brought, pending a decision by Haitian courts if there’s enough merit to the government’s charges to formally indict him, CNN reported. Duvalier has been accused of both corruption and self-enrichment from public funds.

“I have seen the positions (of the government) and I can say that they cannot be prosecuted now,” the lawyer said.

According to Haitian media reports, the man who was ousted from Haiti 25 years ago had left the Justice Palace in Port-au-Prince under police escort back to his luxury hotel Karibe in the upscale Port-au-Prince neighbourhood of Petionville.

Baby Doc - so named after he followed in office the brutal dictatorship of his father Francois “Papa Doc” Duvalier - surprised Haiti with his return from France after 25 years in exile.

He reportedly squirrelled away hundreds of millions of dollars of Haiti’s wealth to his private accounts during his 1971-1986 rule.

Filed under: Politics

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