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Haiti-Political Priest routed by dwight Web

Charges dropped against priest

A politically influential Roman Catholic priest has been cleared of criminal weapons charges in Haiti, freeing him to seek elective office, his lawyer said Monday.

Haiti’s highest court dropped charges that the Rev. Gerard Jean-Juste conspired to illegally import weapons because of a lack of evidence, according to Mario Joseph, a lawyer for the ally of ousted former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

Jean-Juste "is free to exercise all his rights and his political rights," Joseph said. "He can vote, run for office and do whatever else he wants."

Jean-Juste, in his 60s and suffering from leukemia, was cleared last year of homicide charges related to the 2005 killing of Haitian journalist and poet Jacques Roche.

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The interim government that followed Aristide’s ouster jailed Jean-Juste on suspicion of involvement in that killing. He was released in January 2006 to be treated in Miami for cancer and pneumonia.

Jean-Juste has remained active in Haitian politics despite the charges against him, leading thousands in an April rally for Aristide’s return at an amphitheater in the oceanside slum of Cite Soleil.

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