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Court Postpones Hearing in Duvalier Case

March 5, 1987

GRASSE, France (AP) _ A French court Thursday postponed hearings in the Haitian government’s suit against ousted leader Jean-Claude Duvalier, who is accused of embezzling $120 million in state funds.

Lawyers said it may take as long as a year before the court begins examining Haiti’s allegations against Duvalier, who was called president-for- lif e when he ruled the impoverished Caribbean nation.

The court rescheduled its first hearing for May 7 after Duvalier’s French lawyer, Sauveur Vaisse, said he needed more time to prepare his case. Last month the Haitian government presented about 5,000 documents to support its accusatrions of embezzlement.

Outside the court stood a truck belonging to a group called ″Solidarity and Brotherhood for the Children of Haiti.″ It carried banners reading ″Justice for 6 Million Hungry Children″ and ″$900 Million for a Single Man, Jean-Claude Duvalier.″

Duvalier, who fled Haiti Feb. 7, 1986, was not present for the one-hour hearing. He lives in a luxury villa in nearby Mougins.

The former ruler is restricted by the French govenrment from moving outside the Riviera area. France had originally given Duvalier permission to stay here for only one week, but he has remained because no other country is willing to accept him.

During the May 7 hearing, the court is to consider arguments on whether it has jurisdiction to hear the case.

Yann Colin, the Haitian government’s attorney, and Vaisse both said that lengthy French legal procedure could mean it would be a year before the court starts considering the allegations themselves.

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