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#3434: Kidnapped Haitian politician freed (fwd)


WIRE:05/02/2000 12:18:00 ET
 Kidnapped Haitian politician
PORT-AU-PRINCE, (Reuters) - A  Haitian politician kidnapped  from his
home by armed men has been freed after 12 days in  captivity, a party
official said Tuesday. Claudy Myrthil, a candidate for town
representative for the  opposition Espace de Concertation party, was 
dropped off in a  sugar cane field Saturday in Gressier, about 19 miles
south of the capital, said party spokesman Evans Paul. "He is very
traumatized and scared, which is why he has not  made any public
statements yet," Paul said.Haiti has seen a surge in political violence
in the weeks  leading up to long-delayed legislative and municipal
elections, now scheduled for May 21. The kidnapping of Myrthil occurred
just 10 days after his  party's national headquarters in the capital was
burned to the  ground by activists claiming allegiance to former
President  Jean-Bertrand Aristide following the funeral of slain 
pro-government journalist Jean Dominique.  Witnesses said Myrthil, 28,
was kidnapped before dawn on  April 18 and driven off by four armed men
in a pick-up truck. He  was beaten by his kidnappers and overheard plans
to bury him  alive, according to radio reports.  Haiti's continuing
quest to establish a stable democracy  following decades of dictatorship
and military rule has been  marred by violence, political squabbles and
logistical problems.The poor Caribbean nation has not held national
  elections in  more than three years. Two rounds of voting are
scheduled for May 21 and June 25 to fill parliamentary posts and
hundreds of municipal offices.President Rene Preval dissolved parliament
in January 1999  to end an 18-month political impasse and has been
ruling by decree since that time.