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#2266: Claude Raymond, Haitian army chief under Duvaliers, dies at 69 (fwd)


Claude Raymond, Haitian army chief under Duvaliers, dies at 69 


PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (February 9, 2000 5:01 p.m. EST) - Former Gen.
Claude Raymond, the once-dreaded chief of ousted dictator Jean-Claude
Duvalier's army, died Wednesday after more than three years in prison.
He was 69. Raymond died in St. Francois de Sales Hospital in
Port-au-Prince, said Rene Jean-Daniel, director of the national
penitentiary. Raymond had long suffered from a kidney disorder and
diabetes, but hospital officials would not release the cause of death. 
Friends on Wednesday criticized the government for keeping Raymond in
prison since July 1996 despite court orders to free him. "He was put to
death by the state," said Osner Fevry, a lawyer. Raymond became
Duvalier's chief of staff and interior minister when the dictator
succeeded his father,Francois "Papa Doc" Duvalier, who died in 1971
after 14 years of repressive rule. Raymond retired shortly
thereafter. After the younger Duvalier was ousted in 1986, Raymond
declared himself a candidate for the presidency. An electoral council
disqualified him in 1987, calling him a "notorious zealot" and an
architect of Duvalier's rule. In July 1996, Raymond was arrested and
charged with plotting to overthrow the government. He was widely
suspected of directing a Nov. 29, 1987, election day massacre, when
commandos hacked and shot to death more than a dozen voters at a high
school in the Haitian capital. Courts ordered him released three times
for lack of evidence, but the rulings were ignored by the government.
"He was a political prisoner," said Constantin Mayard-Paul, Raymond's
lawyer. Raymond was transferred from the downtown national penitentiary
to St. Francois de Sales Hospital on Jan.4, warden Jean-Daniel told the
private Radio Vision 2000.