Haiti dictator lives in style before trial

Jan. 18, 2012 at 8:36 AM   |   Comments

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PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Jan. 18 (UPI) -- Once notorious Haitian dictator Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier is living comfortably while awaiting trial for crimes against humanity, officials say.

Duvalier, now 60, still has many admirers, and still commands respect in Haiti's political circles. His picture is still sold in the streets.

Although under house arrest, he still engages in lavish dinner dates, and was even commencement speaker for the law school in Gonaives. The university president called his appearance "totally inconceivable."

After a 25-year exile in France, Duvalier returned to Haiti in January 2011. Upon his return, three cases were filed against him for embezzlement of funds, human rights violations and crimes against humanity.

Reynold Georges, Duvalier's attorney, alleges that Duvalier's crimes exceed the statute of limitations. "He will be cleared of all charges. It is almost finished now; the judge is typing up the order to throw it all out," he told The Washington Post.

Reed Brody of Human Rights Watch counters that the statute of limitations does not apply in Duvalier's case.

"Haiti has ratified treaties that obligate it to investigate grave violations of human rights," he said.

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