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17980: (Chamberlain) Haitian former military chief arrested in Florida (fwd)
From: Greg Chamberlain <GregChamberlain@compuserve.com>
MIAMI, Jan 15 (Reuters) - A former Haitian military chief who worked
on tourist boats at Florida's Disney World for five years was arrested for
deportation to Haiti, where he is wanted for murder, U.S. authorities said
Jean-Claude Duperval was assistant commander in chief of the Haitian
army during the bloody military dictatorship of the early 1990s, and was
convicted in absentia of murder in November 2000 and sentenced to life in
prison for his role in one of Haiti's most notorious massacres.
"The arrest is a historic victory for those fighting for justice in
Haiti and for the effort to ensure that the U.S. is not a safe haven for
human rights violators," said Brian Concannon, a U.S. lawyer who prosecuted
those accused in the massacre for the Haitian government.
The U.S. Immigration Board of Appeals denied Duperval's final appeal
on Jan. 7, allowing immigration officials to deport him. He was arrested at
his Orlando home on Wednesday and was being held in the Orange County Jail.
"He will probably be deported immediately," said Pam McCullough, a
spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Tampa.
Concannon said Duperval is the highest ranking of four high command
members arrested in Florida in the last few years. Two have been returned
Duperval was convicted in an April 1994 rampage by soldiers and
paramilitaries through the seaside slum of Raboteau in the city of
Gonaives. About 25 men, women and children were killed.
Human rights groups estimate that 3,000 people were killed in the
three years the military ruled Haiti, from the ouster of President
Jean-Bertrand Aristide in 1991 to his restoration by a U.S.-led military
intervention force in 1994.
Duperval worked in the watercraft division at Disney World in central
Florida from 1997 to 2002, said Rena Langley, a spokeswoman for the tourist
"He was considered a good employee," she said. "We had no knowledge of
his background while he was here."
She declined to say if Duperval resigned or was dismissed.