Haiti's 'Baby Doc' Duvalier detained for questioning in dramatic morning
Less than two days after unexpectedly returning to Haiti, former dictator Jean-Claude 'Baby Doc' Duvalier was brought to court for questioning over alleged crimes committed during his brutal rule.
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Amnesty International said he should be tried for crimes against humanity. “Haiti is under the obligation to prosecute him and anyone else responsible for such crimes,” Javier Zuñiga, special adviser at the human rights organization, said in a statement.Skip to next paragraph
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Duvalier took over from his father, François “Papa Doc” Duvalier, in 1971 and ruled Haiti until 1986. Over the course of three decades, the Duvalier regime was responsible for between 20,000 and 30,000 murders, Human Rights Watch said. The regime used a secret police, called the "Tonton Macoutes," to allegedly kill and torture political opponents.
“Baby Doc" allegedly pilfered hundreds of millions of dollars of state funds and lived lavishly off the money in southern France with his partner, Veronique Roy, who appeared with him Tuesday as he was taken from the hotel.
President pressured to prosecute
Duvalier has not spoken publicly. A press conference set for Monday was rescheduled to today, though it appeared likely to be canceled.
His return from France came as a surprise to many, including political observers who said they could not understand why the ex-dictator was back in Haiti.
“He doesn’t have a base of support in Haiti,” says Mark Weisbrot, codirector of the Washington-based Center for Economic and Policy Research, which monitors Haitian politics. “Many people don’t remember him or are too young to have lived under him. But there is also a whole generation of politicians in Haiti who based their political identities as being in opposition to the Duvaliers, including [President] René Préval.”
Mr. Préval, who told reporters in 2007 that Duvalier would face justice for the alleged theft and killings, was reportedly under intense pressure to detain the former dictator.
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