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6617: Haiti court clears French man in wife's fatal fall (fwd)
Haiti court clears French man in wife's fatal fall
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Jan 12 (Reuters) - A French citizen accused of pushing his
wife off a cliff in Haiti and masking her death as a suicide was acquitted
after a four-day trial, the French Embassy said on Friday.
A judge in Les Cayes, a town 90 miles (145 km) southeast of the capital,
found Guy Cordier, 42, of Grenoble not guilty on Thursday of the murder of
his wife, Chantal Cordier.
Cordier was arrested in August at Haiti's border with the Dominican Republic.
His wife's body was found two months earlier at the base of a cliff on the
southwestern island of Ile a Vache, an embassy official said.
"I'm very happy," Cordier said of his acquittal. "It's the truth. I didn't
kill my wife."
Cordier's trouble's began in February, when Haitians attacked and destroyed
the couple's yacht, thinking it was being used to smuggle drugs.
The poor Caribbean nation has become a major transshipment point for South
American cocaine headed for the United States. The U.S. government estimates
that 67 metric tons of cocaine passed through Haiti in 1999, a 24 percent
increase over the 1998.
After the attack, Cordier took a job to help build a tourist resort on Ile a
Vache, but his wife was unemployed and depressed, the embassy official said.
Chantal Cordier, 44, left two suicide notes, the official said.
"Nobody saw the man kill his wife," the official said. "She wasn't in good
health. She was depressed and had some difficulties after the ship was
attacked in February."
Cordier, who had been held in jail since his arrest, said he was headed back
to France on Sunday to be reunited with his mother and his two daughters,
aged 5 and 11.