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Baby Doc shrugs off trial threat

Former Haitian dictator Jean-Claude ('Baby Doc') Duvalier has applied for a new passport and now intends to leave the country.

His spokesman is insisting that Duvalier can neither be forced to leave his homeland nor compelled to stay and face a criminal trial.

Duvalier had been scheduled to leave today but can't because his passport has expired, said spokesman Yves Germain Joseph.

Duvalier stunned the country last weekend with his sudden return nearly 25 years after he was forced into exile by an uprising against a regime widely viewed as brutal and corrupt.

"He is home here. He is a Haitian," Mr Joseph said. "Nobody can ask Mr Duvalier or any Haitian to leave his country at any time."

Duvalier's lawyers have dismissed the court case against the former leader, saying the allegations, which include corruption and criminal association, are more than 20 years old and can no longer be prosecuted.