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Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 May, 2005, 22:16 GMT 23:16 UK
Haiti ex-PM charged over killings
Former Haitian Prime Minister Yvon Neptune. Archive picture
Mr Neptune has been on hunger strike for a month
Former Haitian Prime Minister Yvon Neptune has appeared before a judge to be charged with ordering political killings in 2004.

Mr Neptune, who served under former President Aristide, has been on hunger strike for a month in protest at being held nearly a year without charge.

The interim Haitian government accuses Mr Neptune of ordering a number of political opponents killed last year.

The alleged killings came just weeks before Mr Aristide was overthrown.

International pressure had been mounting on Haiti to either charge Yvon Neptune or to free him.

The former prime minister says he is the victim of political persecution.

The Spanish news agency Efe said he was taken to the court in the town of St Marc in an ambulance.

Reports say the hunger strike - the second in three months - has left Mr Neptune in a critical condition, though interim Prime Minister Gerard Latortue denied he was near death.

Pierre Esperance, whose National Network for the Defence of Human Rights has been monitoring his progress, said the hearing was a good chance for him to defend himself.

However, the hearing was behind closed doors and it was not clear whether Mr Neptune was accompanied by a lawyer.


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