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a230: Dominican Republic says it won't extradite Haitian (fwd)
From: Greg Chamberlain <GregChamberlain@compuserve.com>
SANTO DOMINGO, Jan 4 (Reuters) - The Dominican Republic said on Friday
it had decided not to hand over to neighboring Haiti a former senior
Haitian police officer accused of leading a coup attempt last month against
Haiti's President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
Foreign Minister Hugo Tolentino Dipp told reporters the Dominican
government was in discussions with third countries to seek a place to send
Guy Philippe, a former police chief in the northern city of Cap Haitien.
Philippe is in the Dominican Republic, which shares the Caribbean
island of Hispaniola with Haiti, with his movements restricted.
Tolentino Dipp did not give details of the third countries. However,
he said Haiti had not asked for Philippe's extradition.
This contradicted comments by Haitian authorities last month
indicating they wanted Philippe handed over.
The Haitian government has said Philippe masterminded an attempt to
overthrow Aristide on Dec. 17. About 30 armed men identified by the
government as former members of Haiti's disbanded army attacked the
The attack was quelled in hours but at least 13 people were killed in
the assault and in subsequent mob violence that shook the capital and other
Opposition politicians said the attack was staged as a pretext to
crack down on opposition parties, the media and civil rights groups.
In a December interview with Radio Carnival in Miami, where thousands
of Haitians live, Philippe denied involvement in the attack. He turned up
in Ecuador after the assault on the presidential palace but was deported
from there and returned to the Dominican Republic in late December despite
having been barred from the country.
Aristide, Haiti's first freely elected leader, was deposed by the
military soon after taking power in 1991. He was restored by a U.S.-led
invasion force in 1994 and disbanded the Haitian army shortly afterward.
Aristide was re-elected president in elections in November 2000 that
were boycotted by the opposition.
Former soldiers and some opposition politicians have campaigned for the
restoration of the army as Haiti's civilian police force has struggled to
maintain security in the country.