Former President Ertha Pascal-Trouillot, who led Haiti to its first democratic elections, has been jailed on charges she conspired to overthrow her own government.
Her surprise arrest Thursday stemmed from a foiled coup attempt on Jan. 6 by diehard supporters of the ousted Duvalier family dictatorship who tried to block the presidency of Jean-Bertrand Aristide.Pascal-Trouillot had said she was kidnapped from her home in her nightgown and held hostage at gunpoint in the National Palace for 10 hours before loyalist soldiers stormed the building and ended the siege.
At one stage, Pascal-Trouillot announced on radio that she was being forced to resign. But she resumed office after being freed unharmed.
The 48-year-old former Supreme Court judge was brought to the Port-au-Prince courthouse, where charges were lodged against her.
Government Prosecutor Anthony Alouidor said on independent Radio Antilles that the former president was accused of complicity in the coup attempt, but he did not specify the charges.
Duvalierists led by former Interior and Defense Minister Roger Lafontant briefly took over the government in January in an attempt to overturn the results of the December election in which Aristide was chosen as Haiti's first democratically chosen president.
Lafontant, who once headed the Tonton Macoutes, the Duvaliers' dreaded private militia, was taken into custody at the palace along with 15 alleged accomplices. They are still jailed awaiting trial.
Aristide has accused the Pascal-Trouillot administration of misappropriation of funds, but no charges were ever brought.
The leftist Roman Catholic priest, an avowed enemy of Duvalierism, was inaugurated on Feb. 7. The next day, Pascal-Trouillot was barred from leaving the country as part of a sweeping investigation by the new government into alleged state-sponsored corruption and human-rights abuses.
Pascal-Trouillot led an 11-month interim civilian government set up by opposition political parties to lead Haiti to the first fully democratic elections in the Caribbean nation's 187-year history.