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April 25, 2017

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Ex-dictator 'Baby Doc' ill after Haiti hearing: source

PORT-AU-PRINCE -- Former Haitian dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier fell ill after a court hearing last week and may miss the next hearing in a probe into allegations of torture and graft, a supporter said Monday.

A source close to "Baby Doc" Duvalier told AFP that last Thursday's court hearing had been a "bruising encounter" for the 61-year-old former strongman, and that he had been admitted to hospital for tests shortly afterwards.

Duvalier is due to attend court again on Thursday as a Haitian judge decides whether he can face charges of having committed crimes against humanity during his iron-fisted 1971 to 1986 reign over the Caribbean island nation.

But the source, speaking on condition of anonymity, indicated that this may now be in doubt. "If he is discharged by his doctor, he will put himself at the disposal of the court," he said, alluding to the possibility he won't attend.

The former dictator spoke very softly at last week's hearing, and appeared to have lost weight. His supporters said he is has cervical osteoarthritis, a degeneration of the spinal column in the neck area.

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