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Ravalomanana: Madagascar Aviation Official Blocks Return Home

Former Madagascan President Marc Ravalomanana during a press conference in Sandton, north of Johannesburg, February 17, 2011

Madagascar's exiled president says his country's aviation authority has blocked his return from South Africa.

Marc Ravalomanana told reporters Saturday his planned trip to Madagascar was sabotaged by a letter from an aviation official to the South African Airways, denying him a boarding pass.

Mr. Ravalomanana had vowed to return Saturday, despite his absentia conviction to life at hard labor for conspiracy to commit murder for the deaths of two dozen anti-government protesters in 2009.

Mr. Ravalomanana fled to South Africa after being ousted by opposition leader Andry Rajoelina in an army-backed coup in March of 2009.

Since Mr. Rajoelina's takeover, Madagascar has faced international isolation because it lacked an elected leader. Madagascar has also struggled to establish a stable government.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.