Haitian killer seized in Florida.

A Haitian ex-army officer sentenced to life in absentia for his role in a massacre in 1994 has been arrested in Florida and faces deportation.

Jean-Claude Duperval, an assistant commander-in-chief under the military dictatorship, had been working on boats at Disney World since 1997.

He was seized by police at his home in Orlando after his final appeal against deportation failed.

He was convicted in 2000 for the deaths of some 25 men, women and children.

Troops rampaged through a slum in the city of Gonaives, forcing their way into dozens of homes, beating and arresting those they found inside.

Some were tortured and forced to lie in open sewers. Others were shot as they tried to flee.

"The arrest is a historic victory for those fighting for justice in Haiti and for the effort to ensure that the US is not a safe haven for human rights violators," said Brian Concannon, a US lawyer who prosecuted those accused in the massacre for the Haitian Government.

At least three other Haitians were recently deported from Florida for their part in the massacre.

Rena Langley, a spokeswoman for Disney World, told Reuters news agency that Duperval had worked from 1997 to 2002 in the tourist attraction's watercraft division.

"He was considered a good employee," she said, adding that Disneyland had had "no knowledge of his background" while he worked there.

Pam McCullough, a spokeswoman for US Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Tampa, said Duperval would "probably be deported immediately".

[Source: BBC Online, London, UK, 16jan04]

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