CNN reports that
A former U.S. congressman was among a group of American attorneys accompanying former Haitian dictator Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier as he spoke in the country’s capital Friday.
Former Republican Congressman Bob Barr said he is not serving as Duvalier’s attorney, but is in Port-au-Prince to consult, assist and be Duvalier’s voice to the international community.
Barr represented Georgia’s 7th District in the U. S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 2003, and was the Libertarian Party’s presidential nominee in 2008. He currently practices law and runs a consulting firm based in Atlanta.
According to Channel 11 in Atlanta,
Jean Claude “Baby Doc’ Duvalier has returned to the country after 25 years of exile.
The Duvalier family ruled Haiti as their own personal fiefdom for 30 years.
They did so with a secret police force and all the tools the dictatorship could muster against its impoverished citizens
Four days ago “Baby Doc”, the son of “Papa Doc”, returned to Port Au Prince from exile in France.
He is now facing human rights abuse charges and needs some good representation. Enter Marger and Barr.
Channel 11 further reports that Bob Barr’s business partner, Edwin Marger, has been a personal friend of the Duvalier family since the days of Francois “Papa Doc” Duvalier in the 1960s.
A statement on Bob Barr’s website reads:
Haiti’s Former President Brings Message of Hope to People
Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Friday, January 21, 2011 — Former Congressman Bob Barr, with Attorneys Ed Marger of Jasper, Georgia and Mike Puglise of Snellville, Georgia, joined former Haitian President Jean-Claude Duvalier in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, as Duvalier issued his first public statement upon returning to Haiti for the first time since he left the country in 1986.
Duvalier explained that the love for his country and the heartbreak he shared with all Haitians over the devastation wrought by last year’s massive earthquake, overcame the risks he knew he would face by returning to Haiti at this time. He also urged all Haitians, but especially the young people, to take leadership and raise the country from the ashes like a Phoenix.
Duvalier also stated that Barr, Marger and Puglise will be representing him in bringing his message of hope to the world.
For further information please contact 011-509-367-39063 or in Haiti through the weekend, on Monday 770-836-1776.
Barr, a former Member of Congress (1995-2003).
CNN notes that Duvalier faces charges of corruption and embezzlement on allegations he stole hundreds of millions of dollars from the national treasury.
Channel 11 notes that there are claims that 59-year-old “Baby Doc” is broke and a Swiss bank holds $6.5 million. To get the money, Duvalier must be exonerated of charges in Haiti.
H/T: Ballot Access News, Tom Knapp via IPR email group, and Steve Linnabary in IPR comments.