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New Haiti president says constitution allows return of ousted Aristide

[JURIST] New Haitian president Rene Preval [Wikipedia profile] said Wednesday that ousted president Jean-Bertrand Aristide [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] has a legal right to re-enter the country. In his first news conference since his victory in the February 2 election, President Preval invoked Article 41 of the Haitian Constitution: "No person of Haitian nationality may be deported or forced to leave the national territory for any reason. No one may be deprived for political reasons of his legal capacity and his nationality."

Aristide was ousted from the presidency and forced to flee into exile after a US-supported coup two years ago. The former president, now living in South Africa, said Tuesday that he wants to return to Haiti [AP report], claiming that his exile is a violation of the constitution, but has left the timing of his return up to President Preval and other leaders. No other ousted leader from the country has attempted to return home, and the United States has warned Haiti [JURIST news archive] that the return of Aristide may lead to further violence and discord. AP has more.

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