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Haiti Coup Supporter Assassinated

March 28, 1995

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) _ A former top official of Haiti’s 1991 military coup government was machine-gunned to death Tuesday on a busy street in downtown Port-au-Prince.

A companion riding with Mireille Durocher Bertin, a prominent lawyer, also was killed when gunmen in a taxi opened fire on her car on Pouplard Avenue, said a Canadian police officer at the scene. The attackers escaped.

Bertin was chief of staff in the military-installed government formed by President Emile Jonassaint after the army overthrew President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. She also advised army leader Lt. Gen. Raoul Cedras and capital police chief Michel Francois.

A U.S.-led multinational force restored Aristide to power last October.

Last week, Bertin announced the formation of a new opposition party called the Movement to Integrate the Nation.

Bertin, who was 35 and had four children, made many enemies after Aristide’s ouster by offering legal arguments to justify the coup leaders’ cause.

In April 1994, she criticized the United States for contemplating invading Haiti to oust the ruling coup leaders, saying U.S. policy had failed worldwide because of American ignorance ``of the realities of the countries involved.″

``The courage of Haiti has been assassinated,″ said businessman Carl Dennis, who participated with Bertin in a National Anti-Occupation Coalition last year.

``There is only one person who must take responsibility for her death, and I am speaking of Bill Clinton. He is to blame for all the Haitians killed, assassinated since Sept. 19.″

Bertin’s passenger was identified as Junior Baillerjeaux, a client of Bertin’s husband, Jean. No other details about him were available.

``It’s not possible. Things can’t go on like this,″ said Rigaud Duplan, president of the capital bar association, who rushed to the scene of the Bertin’s killing.

Haiti is in the grip of a crime wave punctuated by several political attacks. On March 3, former legislator Eric Lamothe was gunned down in a holdup in a Port-au-Prince suburb. He was a member of the National Front for Change and Democracy and a supporter of Aristide.

On March 14, gunmen shot and wounded prominent socialist Philippe Stevenson. His National Progressive Revolutionary Party said it was an attempt to intimidate the party to stay out of upcoming elections. Stevenson is running for legislator.

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