PORT-AU-PRINCE — Former Haitian president Jean-Claude Duvalier was summoned before an investigating magistrate for the second time in as many months, according to a source close to the ex-strongman.
Ever since his return to the country in January after a 25-year exile in France, “Baby Doc” has been accused by the government of corruption, embezzlement of public funds and association with known criminal elements.
He has also been subject to numerous baseless complaints filed against him for crimes against humanity, including arbitrary arrest, torture and illegal detention.
One of those complaints was filed by Haitian journalist Michele Montas, the former spokeswoman for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
Duvalier “appeared before an investigating magistrate for 45 minutes as part of the investigation. He was asked questions to which he of course responded before being released,” his partner Veronique Roy told AFP on Friday.
Duvalier was later seen with relatives dining at a restaurant in Petionville, a suburb east of the capital Port-au-Prince.
“It seems to me that the judge is trying to restrict Duvalier’s movements. He even wanted to impose a particular lawyer even though Duvalier already has several attorneys,” said Reynold George, one of Baby Doc’s lawyers.
“It seems they are trying to get him to crack under the frustration, but Duvalier will always be available to respond to the court’s questions.”
The judge had sought house arrest against Duvalier, but his lawyers got the ruling overturned on appeal. But his residence in the hills surrounding the capital is video-monitored.
Duvalier, the son of the former dictator Francois Duvalier — known as “Papa Doc” — took power in 1971 and ruled for 19 years, the longest dictatorship in the poorest country of the Americas.