Haiti’s ex-president Aristide in court as witness

Former Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide greets supporters in Port-au-Prince in a rare public outing to testify in a money laundering case | © AFP | Valerie Baeriswyl

Port-au-Prince (AFP) | 20 March 2017 20:46

“Jean-Bertrand Aristide responded to questions from the investigating judge. He said what he knew,” said Mario Joseph, a lawyer for the former head of state.

“The judge is investigating the accused Jean Anthony Nazaire, who worked as security chief during Mr Aristide’s tenure. This is why he was heard.”

The questioning of the 63-year-old in the capital Port-au-Prince lasted more than two hours.

Forced to quit power and flee the country in 2004, Aristide has made only very rare public appearances since his return from exile in South Africa in 2011.

His absence was noticeable at the funeral of his former prime minister Rene Preval on March 11.

He also presented himself as a witness in 2013, before the judge investigating the assassination of top journalist Jean Dominique, who was killed in the capital in 2000.

Aristide, a former shantytown priest, has however not responded to the many calls of a judge investigating suspicions of corruption and embezzlement during his presidency.

On Monday morning, he arrived at the prosecution office in Port-au-Prince accompanied by Maryse Narcisse, the candidate of his party who came fourth in November’s presidential elections.

They were greeted by hundreds of supporters.

“Being there, we proved to the entire world that Aristide is and will always remain the king of the country of Haiti,” said demonstrator Paul Moise, in the midst of the crowd following the former president’s precession after he left.

“No one is above the law: they invited him, he came.”

© 2017 AFP

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AFP

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