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US Envoy Criticizes Release of Former Haitian Paramilitary Leader

The outgoing U.S. ambassador to Haiti has criticized the release of a former paramilitary commander who played a role in the ouster of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide last year.

Ambassador James Foley was quoted Friday as saying Louis-Jodel Chamblain's release from prison is a scandal for Haiti and its image around the world.

Mr. Chamblain was jailed in April 2004, charged with a politically motivated murder. He was acquitted, but kept in prison as authorities looked into allegations he masterminded a fire that devastated part of Cite Soleil, outside Port-au-Prince.

A lawyer for Mr. Chamblain says an appeals court ruled there was not sufficient evidence to hold him on arson allegations, and the rebel leader was released Thursday.

Mr. Chamblain once led the Front for the Advancement of Progress of the Haitian People, a paramilitary group blamed for 3,000 civilian murders during Haiti's 1991 to 1994 dictatorship.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.