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Ex-Haitian leader accused of corruption

January 18, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
Haiti's former dictator who returned to the country two days ago was taken to court by authorities on Tuesday. Jean-Claude Duvalier, known as "Baby Doc," faces accusations of corruption and embezzlement, according to his attorney.

He was being charged for allegedly pilfering the treasury before his 1986 ouster.

Duvalier, 59, was calm and did not say anything as he was taken from his hotel.

Hundreds of supporters and protesters gathered outside of the court on Tuesday.

The attorney said the case is now in the hands of a judge of instruction who will decide whether there is enough evidence to go to trial. That process can take up to three months.

Crowds and reporters swarmed Duvalier as he arrived at the airport in Port-au-Prince on Sunday.

An uprising against his brutal regime forced Duvalier into exile 25 years ago. He had been living in exile in France.

His aides said he's returned as an elder statesman who wants to see the effects of last year's devastating earthquake on the country.

But his surprise visit comes with Haiti deep in political crisis, and there are fears his return will prompt more conflict.

Since his return, there have been calls to charge him with crimes committed under his brutal regime, including the deaths of thousands of people.

Duvalier assumed power in 1971 at age 19 following the death of his father, Francois "Papa Doc" Duvalier. The father and son presided over one of the darkest chapters in Haitian history.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.