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Radio Sandwell African / Caribbean News

Former Haiti president Jean-Claude 'Baby Doc' Duvalier dies

2014-10-04 19:15:22

Jean-Claude Duvalier
Jean-Claude Duvalier was accused of massive corruption and human rights abuses

Haiti's former ruler Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier has died of a heart attack in the capital Port-au-Prince, reports quoting official sources say.

Duvalier was just 19 when in 1971 he inherited the title of "president-for-life" from his father, the notorious Francois "Papa Doc" Duvalier.

He was accused of corruption, human rights abuses and repression in his rule, which ended in a 1986 uprising.

After years of exile in France, he returned to Haiti in 2011.

His death was announced by Haiti's health minister, and the ex-leader's attorney Reynold Georges confirmed he died at home on Saturday.

Human rights groups say hundreds of political prisoners were tortured or killed under his rule, and he was accused of massive corruption.

Like his father, he ruled with an iron fist, relying on a brutal militia known as the Tontons Macoutes to control the country.

In 1986, he was forced from power by a popular uprising and US diplomatic pressure, and went into exile in France.

He described his return to Haiti - a year after it was devastated by a major earthquake, as a gesture of solidarity to the nation.

In February 2013, he appeared in court in an emotionally charged hearing where he denied responsibility for abuses carried out during his time as president.

Jean-Claude Duvalier
Jean-Claude Duvalier, pictured here in 1980, ruled Haiti with an iron fist for 15 years

Source: bbc.co.uk

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