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"Baby Doc" arrives for questioning at prosecutor's office

posted 18 Jan 2011, 12:54 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 18 Jan 2011, 12:57 ]

Former exiled Haitian leader Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier faces questioning from legal authorities.

PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI (JANUARY 18, 2011) REUTERS - Former exiled Haitian dictator Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier arrived at the prosecutor's office in earthquake-shattered Port-au-Prince on Tuesday (January 18) after being detained by Haitian police for questioning.

Duvalier arrived in Haiti unexpectedly two days earlier on an Air France flight from Paris.

Armed police escorted Duvalier, 59, from the luxury hotel in Port-au-Prince where he had been staying to be questioned -- and possibly prosecuted -- over money stolen from the national treasury during his 1971-1986 rule.

Duvalier's unexpected return sparked speculation as to why the former leader would return at a time when the country is gripped by political uncertainty after inconclusive Nov. 28 elections and still struggling to recover from a devastating earthquake that struck a year ago.

He is accused by human rights groups of being responsible for the killing and torture of opponents during his 15 years in power.

Since his arrival in Haiti, human rights groups and critics have demanded the government arrest and prosecute one of the 20th century's most notorious dictators for the killing and torture of thousands of opponents they say occurred during his 15-year rule.

As a chubby playboy and the world's youngest head of state at 19, Duvalier assumed power in Haiti in 1971 on the death of his father, feared dictator Francois "Papa Doc" Duvalier.

The government official said a previous judicial complaint against Duvalier, for "money stolen from the treasury", had been reactivated. He added he believed a number of other complaints from private individuals, for other alleged "crimes", were also being prepared.