Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Haiti's 'Baby Doc' Duvalier hospitalised

05 March 2013, 14:30

Port-au-prince - An attorney for Jean-Claude Duvalier said on Monday that his client was hospitalised for an unspecified illness just after the former ruler testified last week in court about alleged human rights abuses and embezzlement associated with his 15-year rule.

Lawyer Reynold Georges said on Monday night that Duvalier wasn't feeling well before the Thursday court hearing and his doctor advised him not to testify.

"I decided otherwise" and urged him to attend, Georges said.

Georges declined to name the hospital where Duvalier is apparently receiving medical attention or specify the ailment, saying simply that "he's sick."

The former ruler known as "Baby Doc" gave a historic testimony last week that surprised many.

‘President for life’

Few thought he would appear in court after he rebuffed three earlier orders to show up and rights groups and plaintiffs hailed the event as a small triumph for a justice system that's long been plagued with dysfunction and corruption.

In the hearing the 61-year-old Duvalier defended his rule as a better time for Haiti.

Looking gaunt and bored, he periodically wiped his forehead with a white cloth as he answered questions about political prisoners, murders and disappearances under his watch as the country's "president for life."

Duvalier became president in 1971 at the mere age of 19, succeeding his father Francois "Papa Doc," and ruled until he was ousted in a popular rising in 1986.

A private militia known as the Tonton Macoutes helped the Duvalier dynasty stay in power.
Plaintiffs in the current case are due to testify on Thursday but Duvalier has not been ordered to appear.

Exempt of human rights abuse

The former leader was charged with rights abuses and financial crimes upon his sudden return in January 2011 following 25 years in exile in France.

A judge in a lower level court last year ruled that Duvalier face only charges on financial crimes, and not the human rights abuse charges because they are exempt under a statute of limitations.

Attorneys for more than 20 plaintiffs appealed that decision and so has the legal team for Duvalier, whose attorneys assert he's innocent on all charges.

Lawyer Nicole Phillips of the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, a Boston-based advocacy group helping Haitian attorneys who represent the alleged victims, noted the timing of Duvalier's alleged hospital visit.

"It would be unfortunate if his illness stalls the appeals process," Phillips said.

The alleged hospitalisation is the second time Duvalier has sought medical treatment.

Two months after his 2011 return, he checked into a hospital for unspecified chest pains. Family friends and associates declined to discuss details of his health condition.

Despite the almost week-long hospital stay, Duvalier was well enough to travel the country - a violation of a house arrest that, the attorney Georges said, has since expired.

Duvalier has also been seen dining with friends in restaurants in the capital.

The Haitian government reissued his diplomatic passport in December on the grounds that he's a former head-of-state.

- AP


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...