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8870: Haiti Releases 23 Civilians (fwd)

From: Stanley Lucas <slucas@iri.org>

AUGUST 11, 07:10 EDT 

 Haiti Releases 23 Civilians 

 Associated Press writer 

 PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP)  Haiti's government says it has released 23 civilians arrested in
 connection with deadly attacks on police that President Jean-Bertrand Aristide had blamed on the
 disbanded army. 

 The 23 detainees were released over the last three days from lockups in the capital and across the
 countryside, the Haitian government said in an official statement released to reporters Friday. 

 A 24th detainee, police officer Mario Andersol, was also released Friday after murder and
 subversion charges against him were abruptly dropped, said his lawyer, Osner Fevry. 

 Five police officers were killed July 28 by armed men in camouflage who called for loyalty to the
 army as they attacked a police academy and three police stations. Fourteen others were wounded.

 Aristide's first government was ended by a 1991 military coup. After he was restored to power by a
 U.S. military invasion in 1994, Aristide disbanded the army, incorporating 1,000 of its soldiers into a
 6,000-member police force. 

 The government has accused the political opposition of plotting a coup with the ex-soldiers. The
 opposition has denied it is plotting to overthrow Aristide and said the government is looking for
 excuses to detain opposition partisans. 

 Of the 41 suspects who were originally rounded up in the July 28 attack, most were opposition
 supporters, according to the 15-party Convergence opposition alliance. Six were police officers. 

 The government has released no details on the 17 who remain in custody.