Luc Desir, chief of Francois Duvalier's Secret Police

Few people guilty of the most heinous crimes in Haiti's history have received due punishment. It would seem that justice for the wrongs done to people in the country, blatantly orchestrated and performed by those in power, is a thing to be hoped for but never truly achieved.


When Luc Désir was charged with his crimes and sentenced to life imprisonment at hard labor in the late 1980's, it seemed as though all the people he'd tortured, their families who suffered and those whose lives he'd brutally ended, all as the head of Francois Duvalier's Secret Police, would finally see restitution. It's been speculated that hundreds of people imprisoned by him disappeared without trace, the true nature of his dealings with the imprisoned unknown until audio recordings he made of his torture sessions became public fodder.

After Duvalier's fall, he was sentenced, but victory for the bereaved was short-lived as, under President Prosper Avril, Désir and 13 other people who'd been sentenced were given pardons or commuted sentences. Désir benefited from the latter, seeing his sentence reduced to 30 years.

He would spend a few years in prison, until, in what some view as a loyalty move between those in the Duvalier faction, he was let out of prison with a blatant, scandalous disregard for due process. Without him having finished his sentence and without a formal pardon, the Cédras led government orchestrated his 'release' from prison and Désir was let free to live in peace on foreign shores.

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Read more: duvalier, Duvalier Crime, Tonton Macoute, Francois Duvalier, Torture, Secret Service, Luc Desir, Raoul Cedras, VSN, Security Crime Law and Order

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