Justice Minister Says To Extradite Duvalier
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) _ The new governing council says it will try to extradite deposed President- for-Life Jean-Claude Duvalier from France, where he was granted temporary exile after fleeing Haiti during violent protests against his rule.
Justice Minister Gerard Gourgue made the announcement Thursday on national television.
France had no immediate reaction today to Gourgue’s announcement, and a spokesman at the Foreign Ministry said no statement on the subject was likely until an official request was received from Haiti. The two countries do not have an extradition treaty, the ministry said.
Duvalier fled Haiti for France on Feb. 7, and since then has been unable to find a new permanent home. His request for permanent asylum in France was formally turned down by the French Office for the Protection of Refugees.
Haiti’s ruling six-man council also will seek the return of Col. Albert Pierre, Duvalier’s police chief, from Brazil, which granted him political asylum earlier this week.
Chris Fitzgerald, an information officer at the U.S. Embassy in Port-au- Prince, said he did not expect Duvalier would be extradited, but added, ″I don’t want to give the impression the embassy sees this as impossible.″
The ruling council’s announcement to seek extradition proceedings followed a rare news conference in which the council president, Lt. Gen. Henri Namphy, said other Duvalier aides accused of crimes ″are or will be brought to justice.″
Namphy was joined at the news conference by council members Col. Max Valles, the minister of information, and Col. William Regala, the minister of the interior and national defense.
The flight or attempted flight of Duvalier aides - including Rosalie ″Mad Max″ Adolphe, the longtime leader of the dreaded Tonton Macoutes private militia, who reportedly was released from prison and fled last Friday - has angered Haitians, sparking demonstrations and violence.
Luc Desir, secret police chief under the late ruler Francois ″Papa Doc″ Duvalier, attempted to flee on Tuesday but was arrested at the airport after thousands of Haitians, responding to radio reports that he was there, converged to intercept him.
Gourgue said he had directed that Desir and a former Tonton Macoutes named Elois Maitre, be tried for their alleged role in a case of torture and murder.
Pierre, his wife, and Jener Cotin, a former secret police officer, were granted political asylum by Brazil last week and allowed by the ruling council to leave Haiti. Pierre has been accused of torture, disappearances, arrest and murder of Duvalier’s opponents.
The trio was reportedly staying at a hotel on a Brazilian island in the Atlantic, but Rio de Janeiro newspapers reported Thursday that they were moved to a nearby military base because tourists in the hotel protested their presence.
After a relative calm last week, demonstrations broke out Monday and Tuesday to protest the Pierre and Desir incidents. On Wednesday, looters vandalized private homes in St. Marc, Petionville, Cap Haitian as well as the capital. A 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew imposed Wednesday was continued Thursday to control the violence.
Desir’s home in Petionville was damaged, as were homes of other Duvalier aides, though not all looting appeared to be politically motivated.
On Thursday, a missionary group in Lanzak, near St. Marc, received threats that co-director Betty Snyder thought serious enough to warrant the removal of 10 missionaries and dependents back to the home base in Fort Pierce, Fla. It was not immediately clear who she believed was issueing the threats.
″They told us on radio ... they were after us. They threatened to burn down our homes and our school,″ Mrs. Snyder said from Fort Pierce.
Namphy said the army would use ″acceptable means″ to control violence either by private citizens or the Tonton Macoutes militia. ″We will establish order.″
The looting stemmed in part from broadcast reports that the public water supply in the northern city of Port-de-Paix had been contaminated by a Tontons Macoute, killing several dozen people and injuring hundreds, according to an Information Ministry spokeswoman.
The spokeswoman added that the report proved to be false, but residents of the town killed a man thought to be responsible.
In a separate development, journalist Serge Beaulieu said army troops shot and killed one youth who was among a group of about 20 around his home in a Port-au-Prince suburb Wednesday night.
He said the youths work for him, and had come to his house with him after a crowd attacked it, thinking it belonged to a former official in the Duvalier government.
Beaulieu, who works for European news services, said the rest of the youths were arrested. The government refused to comment on the incident ″pending investigation.″