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Haiti won't hold state funeral for former dictator 'Baby Doc' Duvalier, his lawyer says

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PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Former Haitian dictator Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier will not get a formal state funeral, his attorney said Thursday.

Duvalier, the self-designated "president-for-life" who died Saturday from an apparent heart attack, will have a "simple, private" funeral arranged by friends and family in Haiti, attorney Reynold Georges said in an interview.

"There will be people coming from all over the country," he said.

PHOTO: Former military dictator Prosper Avril, second right, attends the wake of former Haitian dictator Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Saturday October 9, 2014. Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier, the self-designated "president-for-life" who died Saturday from an apparent heart attack, will not get a formal state funeral, his attorney said Thursday. (AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery)
Former military dictator Prosper Avril, second right, attends the wake of former Haitian dictator Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Saturday October 9, 2014. Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier, the self-designated "president-for-life" who died Saturday from an apparent heart attack, will not get a formal state funeral, his attorney said Thursday. (AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery)

Georges told The Associated Press that he had been told in recent days that the government of President Michel Martelly had planned a state funeral though officials said publicly that no decision had been made.

The attorney said the government apparently changed course and decided against a public funeral for Duvalier, who presided over a regime widely acknowledged as brutal and corrupt until he was ousted by a popular uprising in 1986.

Minister of Communications Rudy Heriveaux declined to comment on the subject during a news conference Thursday.

Duvalier's family and friends gathered at his wake Thursday.

Duvalier returned from 25 years of exile in 2011. A judge was conducting a criminal inquiry into human rights abuses and allegations of corruption but there had been few signs of progress in the case in the months before his death. He freely moved about the country and was frequently spotted dining in restaurants in the capital.

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