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Americas

Haiti's former dictator ‘Baby Doc’ Duvalier sued for torture

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-01-20

Rights activists have lodged a criminal complaint for alleged torture, exile and arbitrary detention against former Haitian dictator Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier, a day after the authorities charged him with graft upon his return to the country.

AFP - Four Haitians Wednesday sued ex-dictator Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier for alleged torture, exile and arbitrary detention during his 15-year rule, a former UN spokeswoman said.

"We have just lodged criminal complaints for crimes against humanity with the government prosecutor," Michele Montas, a Haitian activist and journalist as well as former spokeswoman for UN chief Ban Ki-moon, told AFP.
             
She was joined by two former political prisoners, Alix Fils-Aime and Claude Rosiers, who were both jailed for 10 years under Duvalier's 1971-1986 regime, and another victim, Nicole Magloire.
             
The suits mark the latest legal setback for Duvalier, who fled after being ousted in a popular uprising in 1986, but stunned Haitians when he returned on Sunday for the first time in a quarter century.
             
On Tuesday he was charged with corruption, criminal association and the embezzlement of public funds during his 15-year rule after intense questioning by prosecutors.
              
Former Haitian strongman Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier and his French wife, Michele Bennet, in 1980.
Montas, who was forced into exile during Duvalier's rule, said she met with the chief prosecutor Aristidas Auguste before filing suit.
             
"We have lodged lawsuits for arbitrary detention, exile, destruction of private property, torture and moral violation of civil and political rights," she said.
             
Duvalier took power in 1971 when he was just 19, succeeding his repressive father Francois "Papa Doc" Duvalier at his death. The precocious young leader with a playboy lifestyle was not expected to last long, but he ruled for a decade and a half.
             
Rights groups and opponents have accused Duvalier of torture and killings during his dictatorship. He also allegedly siphoned off hundreds of millions of dollars from public funds.
             
On Wednesday he remained holed up in his hotel room in Port-au-Prince, the capital city devastated by a massive earthquake one year ago that killed more than 220,000 people.

 

Date created : 2011-01-19

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