PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – The former prime minister under ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide (search) is flying into exile after months in detention, a Western diplomat and a radio station reported Sunday.
Former Premier Yvon Neptune (search), who had been held without charge for 10 months in connection with political killings during the February 2003 rebellion that ousted Aristide, will be flown to the neighboring Dominican Republic (search) by helicopter on Sunday, the diplomat said. The diplomat spoke on condition of anonymity because a formal announcement has not been made.
Independent Radio Kiskeya reported that Neptune already had been flown out late Saturday after doctors said a hunger strike had left him near death. The discrepancy could not immediately be reconciled.
An official at Port-au-Prince's international airport said they were on standby for the event but had not yet received confirmation from officials in Haiti's interim government, who could not be reached for comment.
Neptune initially was considered a traitor by Aristide loyalists when he handed power to an interim president, Boniface Alexandre (search), within days of Aristide's Feb. 29 flight as rebels led by former soldiers were converging on the capital.
At the time Neptune resisted pressure from diplomats and interim government officials, installed after U.S. troops arrived, to go into exile.
After his arrest in June, he became a rallying point for both militants demanding the release of hundreds of Aristide officials and loyalists jailed without charge, as well as for human rights activists demanding he be tried. Aristide is in exile in South Africa.
The interim government of Prime Minister Gerard Latortue accused Neptune of orchestrating the killing of Aristide opponents in the western town of St. Marc during the rebellion, allegations he denies.
Latortue had resisted months of international pressure to release Neptune.