Aristide facing drug probe in Haiti

2012-02-28 11:00
Port au Prince - Haitian authorities launched an investigation on Monday against former president Jean Bertrand Aristide for alleged drug trafficking and corruption, a lawyer close to the ex-president said.

Aristide also faces charges of bribery and malfeasance, attorney Newton Saint-Juste said.

The Aristide Foundation for Democracy and former officials from his administration, including the ex-head of the National Police, are also named in the case, Saint-Juste said.

Haitian Justice Minister Michel Brunache had no immediate comment on the case.

Aristide, a former Roman Catholic priest who was Haiti's first democratically-elected leader, was a champion of Haiti's poor and reviled by the Caribbean nation's elite.

Aristide was president from 1991 to 2004, eventually leaving the country aboard a US Air Force aircraft into exile in South Africa amid political turmoil.

Now 58-years-old, Aristide returned to Haiti in March 2011 and has maintained a low profile.

Aristide returned just weeks after former dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier returned to Haiti.

In January, investigating judge Jean Carves recommended that Duvalier face trial for embezzlement. The judge however said that he should not face charges for the time being for allegations of crimes against humanity despite a number of complaints filed against him.

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