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Ex-Militiamen Sentenced to Life for Death of Student

September 3, 1989

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) _ The militiaman whose killing of a student in 1985 sparked protests that led to the downfall of the Duvalier dictatorship has been sentenced to life in prison, a radio station reported Saturday.

Radio Haiti Inter said Augustin Majeune was convicted and sentenced to life at hard labor Thursday by a jury in the northwestern town of Gonaives for the death of 16-year-old Mackenson Michel on Nov. 28, 1985.

On that date, during a demonstration in Gonaives against the regime of Jean-Claude Duvalier, Michel and two other high-school students, Jean-Robert Cius and Daniel Israel, were killed by Tontons Macoutes, Duvalier’s dreaded private militia.

The deaths provoked violent anti-government demonstrations throughout the Caribbean island that forced Duvalier to flee into exile in France in February 1986, ending 29 years of family rule.

In September 1988, Cereste Saint-Phard, who had been the Gonaives commander of the Tontons Macoutes, was found innocent in the killing of Cius, slain in the courtyard of the Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic seminary.

Majeune was convicted of shooting Michel in an alley in front of the seminary after the youth had witnessed the slaying of Cius. Israel was bayoneted in a street adjacent to the seminary and died in a hospital.

Radio Haiti Inter did not say long Majeune’s trial lasted or give other details.

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