Haitian who alleges abuse to testify in Uruguay

Associated Press Published: May 10, 2012
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MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay (AP) — A 19-year-old Haitian man who has accused six Uruguayan peacekeepers for the U.N. of sexually abusing him in the poor Caribbean country will testify Thursday to a judge who is investigating the case.

Uruguayan Judge Alejandro Guido and Supreme Court spokesman Raul Oxandabarat told The Associated Press that the man would testify during a closed hearing.

Guido declined to provide more information. But Oxandabarat said the testimony was part of the judicial investigation into the allegations.

"It's not a penal trial but an inquiry to investigate alleged rape of this young man in Haiti," the court spokesman said.

Oxandabarat said justice officials had arranged for a translator because the witness speaks Creole. He said a public lawyer was also being provided because the young man's lawyers were not authorized to practice law in Uruguay.

Local media showed images of the young man in a suit and tie after he landed at Montevideo's airport Wednesday afternoon. He was accompanied by his mother, two lawyers and a Haitian foreign ministry official.

The AP is not identifying the man by name because of the sexual nature of the charges.

Last year, the man alleged that he was sexually abused at a U.N. base by six Uruguayan marines who were serving in the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Haiti. One of the peacekeepers recorded the rowdy scene on a cellphone, showing the accuser being pinned down on a mattress as a partially clothed marine simulated rape.

The suspects and their lawyer initially called it a prank that got out of hand, angering many Haitians who already had been demanding a departure by all U.N. peacekeepers.