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'Baby Doc' Duvalier arrested by Haitian authorities

Former dictator accused of embezzlement and human rights abuses to be shown the file being brought against him by Haitian prosecutors.

Haiti's ex-dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier, aka
Haiti's ex-dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier, aka "Baby Doc", is taken from his hotel by police.
Image: AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa

THE FORMER DICTATOR AND PRESIDENT of Haiti Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier has been arrested from his hotel by police after making a surprise return to the country.

Duvalier returned to Haiti unexpectedly on Sunday night after 25 years in exile.

He has been accused of embezzling millions from state accounts.

Today, a senior government official told Reuters that Duvalier is being questioned to determine if he should be prosecuted for stealing from the Haitian treasury. After an hour of intense questioning, Duvalier was taken to court where he will be notified of the file against him, the AFP reports.

A group of the former leader’s supporters have gathered outside the hotel he is staying at, calling for the current president to be arrested and Duvalier to stay in Haiti.

His father Francois Duvalier ruled from 1957-1971, after which time Jean-Claude took over as “president for life” until he fled the country in 1986.  The Duvaliers were connected with a brutal private army called the Tonton Macoutes.

The UN said this evening that human rights abuse charges could be brought against Duvalier. A spokesperson for the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights said that “major issues” surround Duvalier including a range of human rights abuses and corruption that occurred in Haiti during his 15 years in power:

It’s not clear if Haiti is in a position to arrest and charge Jean-Claude Duvalier for anything at this point but it’s something we are looking at right now. But clearly the whole issue of impunity and accountability surrounding him has come back sharply into focus because he has reappeared in Haiti where it is conceivable that charges could be brought.

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