October 24, 2000

Dominicans refuse to extradite Haitian police accused of plotting coup

                  SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AP) -- Dominican officials on
                  Tuesday rejected Haiti's request to extradite seven high-ranking Haitian police
                  officials accused of plotting a coup.

                  The announcement came as two other Haitian officers sought asylum in the
                  Dominican Embassy in Haiti, Dominican Foreign Minister Hugo Tolentino Dipp

                  "We are looking for a way out that will let the Haitians live here or go to a third
                  country," Tolentino said after meeting with his Haitian counterpart, Fritz
                  Longchamps, and Dominican President Hipolito Mejia.

                  The Dominican Republic and Haiti share the Caribbean island of Hispaniola. Last
                  week, seven police officers arrived legally in a Dominican border town and asked
                  officials there for protection. They have been detained in the Dominican Republic

                  Some of the seven Haitians have said they want asylum in Ecuador, where they
                  were trained, Dominican officials say.

                  Tensions in Haiti have mounted ahead of November 26 presidential elections
                  expected to return former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to power.

                  Major opposition parties are boycotting the contest, alleging that legislative and
                  local elections earlier this year were rigged to favor Aristide candidates, who
                  won more than 80 percent of the contested posts. Aristide's Lavalas Family party
                  has denied those allegations.

                  Last week, the Haitian government said it was investigating a coup allegedly
                  planned by members of the police force. Aristide created the force to replace the
                  army that ousted him in a 1991 coup. U.S. troops invaded to chase out the
                  soldiers three years later.

                  Copyright 2000 The Associated Press.