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'Rape' victim in UN case hires attorneys

05 April 2013, 10:33

Port-au-Prince - A Haitian man at the centre of a sexual assault case against UN peacekeepers has retained a defence team of US lawyers, his pro-bono attorneys said on Thursday.

Lawyers Jayne Fleming and Robert Rubin said in a statement on Thursday that they had filed an application for humanitarian parole on the man's behalf with the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS). This would allow him to travel to the US to seek counselling as they consider their next move in the case.

A DHS spokesperson couldn't confirm on Thursday afternoon that the agency had received the request.

The client alleged he was sexually assaulted in 2011 by six Uruguayan troops on a UN base in Haiti.

One of the peacekeepers recorded the alleged incident on a cellphone. The video shows the accuser being pinned down on a mattress as a marine simulated rape, the defence team said.

Charged with 'private violence'

The suspects and their lawyer initially called the episode a prank that got out of hand, angering many Haitians who already had been demanding that all UN peacekeepers leave the country.

In a preliminary investigation, the UN and Uruguay's navy determined that the man was not raped, but said peacekeepers broke rules.

The marines were sent back to Uruguay and held in prison for several months. They were released in late 2011 pending the investigation and a military trial.

A Uruguayan court last year charged four of them with "private violence".

The Associated Press is not identifying the man by name because of the sexual nature of the charges.



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