Page last updated at 20:21 GMT, Thursday, 12 February 2009

Swiss to return 'Baby Doc' assets

Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier
Jean-Claude Duvalier has not been home since 1986

Switzerland says it will return the assets of former dictator Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier to Haiti for use on development projects.

The $6m (4.2m) has been frozen in Swiss bank accounts since 1986 when he fled to France amid rising unrest.

The Swiss Federal Office of Justice said the Duvaliers had failed to prove the money was of legitimate origin and were therefore not entitled to it.

They now have 30 days to appeal against the ruling.

Hundreds of thousands of Haitians continue to suffer from the impact of four tropical storms and hurricanes that battered the impoverished nation in 2008.

Repressive rule

The Duvaliers ruled Haiti from 1957 when Francois "Papa Doc" Duvalier came to power, and entrenched his rule with a brutal private militia: the Tontons Macoutes.

When "Papa Doc" died in 1971, "Baby Doc", then 19, was named president for life and continued the repressive rule of his father.

During their 31-year family dictatorship tens of thousands of people were killed, some tortured to death.

"Baby Doc" was alleged to have brought with him a fortune of tens of millions of dollars looted from Haiti, and for the first years of exile he lived in luxury on the Cote d'Azur.

However, a costly divorce from his wife is said to have severely degraded his fortune.

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