Former Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide is now under house arrest, according to a ruling issued on Tuesday by Judge Lamarre Belizaire. The judge is investigating allegations of corruption, money laundering and drug smuggling, blamed on the former leader, and a number of his allies, when he led the Caribbean country between 2001 and 2004, judicial sources told HCNN on Tuesday.
Aristide’s residence in the district of Tabarre will be surrounded by agents of the prison administration, known as APENA, while the perimeter of the residence will be guarded by agents of the Central Department of the Judicial Police (DCPJ), according to Belizaire’s ruling.
The investigating judge characterized the new ruling as part of precautionary measures to ensure that Aristide remains available for judicial authorities and that he can be brought to the judge’s office, as needed, to be interviewed.
After listing and citing a series of legal provisions to justify his decision, Belizaire concluded that Aristide will be put under house arrest.
“For these reasons, (we) say and declare that the named Jean-Bertrand Aristide is under house arrest since force must remain with the law,” read the order, dated Sept. 9, of which HCNN has obtained a copy.
“We order those responsible for the Prison Administration to take all necessary measures to secure the residence where the accused is found and to bring him before us, when required, in order to be interrogated on acts of money laundering and illicit drug trafficking blamed on him,” Belizaire wrote in his order.
“We order consequently officials of the Central Department of the Judicial Police to secure the perimeter of the above-mentioned house,” concluded the order, which was communicated to relevant authorities for further legal proceedings.
Belizaire also decided that only he, as the magistrate in charge of the case, could now authorize persons, whatever their standing, to visit Aristide in his residence at Tabarre.
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