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In brief: Duvalier return OK, Preval says

Sun., Jan. 23, 2011

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic – Haitian President Rene Preval said Saturday that ex-dictator Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier had every right to return home from exile, but must now face an investigation of alleged abuses during his reign.

Preval’s first public comment on Duvalier since the former strongman’s astonishing arrival in Haiti a week ago came at a news conference during a surprise trip of his own to the neighboring Dominican Republic.

Accompanied by Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive, Preval said they met with Dominican President Leonel Fernandez for four hours to discuss Haiti’s political crisis and a cholera epidemic. He spoke briefly and fielded only three questions.

“Duvalier had the right to return to the country, but under the constitution, he also must face justice,” Preval told reporters. “If Duvalier is not in prison now, it is because he has not yet been tried.”

Preval added that by law, Haitians cannot be barred from their homeland.

Political tensions rising in Albania

Tirana, Albania – A political crisis escalated in Albania on Saturday as the government and the opposition traded blame for the deaths of three protesters during a violent demonstration against an administration accused of deeply rooted corruption.

The prosecutor general’s office said arrest warrants had been issued for six officers of the National Guard, army troops under Interior Ministry command who guard government institutions and senior officials.

Tensions have been mounting for months between Albania’s conservative government and the main opposition Socialist Party.

On Friday night, protesters overturned and burned police vehicles Friday night and clashed with officers who fought them off with tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannon. Two men were fatally shot in the chest and another died of a wound to the head.

The U.S. and the European Union have both appealed for calm.

Experts appointed to review Knox case

Perugia, Italy – Independent forensic experts will have 90 days starting next month to review crucial evidence linking American student Amanda Knox to the murder of her British roommate, an appeals court said Saturday.

Knox was convicted in 2009 of sexually assaulting and murdering Meredith Kercher, and sentenced to 26 years in prison. Her co-defendant and ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito was also convicted and sentenced to 25 years. Both have denied wrongdoing.

Their lawyers have disputed DNA traces used to back up the convictions and obtained an independent review at the start of the appeals trial.

The experts appointed by the appeals court, Stefano Conti and Carla Vecchiotti from Rome’s Sapienza University, were formally sworn in at a hearing Saturday.


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