Haiti held former dictator Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier in custody yesterday to prosecute him on possible corruption charges after human rights groups had demanded his arrest following his surprise return from exile.
Duvalier, 59, who fled Haiti in 1986 from a popular uprising, was questioned at the chief prosecutor’s office in Port-au-Prince after armed police escorted him from the luxury hotel where he had stayed since his unexpected arrival on Sunday.
His return to his poor, earthquake-battered Caribbean homeland was a shock to Haitians and to foreign governments at a time when the country is in the midst of a political crisis caused by chaotic and inconclusive elections held on Nov. 28.
The political uncertainty comes on top of an ongoing cholera epidemic that has killed more than 3,800 people and efforts to rebuild the crippled nation after the huge earthquake a year ago that claimed more than 316,000 lives.
As Duvalier was led from his hotel room under heavy police guard, accompanied by his wife, he waved at journalists and some supporters gathered outside the hotel.