House arrest ordered for Aristide in Haiti

A supporter of former Haitian President Jean Bertrand Aristide holds a picture of Aristide outside his residence on September 10, 2014 in Port-au-Prince (AFP Photo/Hector Retamal)

Port-au-Prince (AFP) - A judge has ordered Haiti's former president Jean Bertrand Aristide placed under house arrest and barred him from leaving the country, court sources said Wednesday.

Aristide, the Caribbean country's first democratically elected president, is under investigation for corruption, drug trafficking and money laundering in a case involving about 30 people, including family members and former officials in his administration.

Judge Lamarre Belizaire, who is leading the investigation, on Tuesday issued an order to police and prison authorities to "secure" Aristide's residence "and bring him, if necessary, before us to answer's the court's questions about the facts of the money-laundering and illicit drug trafficking he is accused of."

The judge also restricted visits to Aristide and instructed police to control arrivals and departures from his home in northern Port-au-Prince.

"Only certain people authorized by the judge can visit the accused," the judge's order said.

Aristide, a former Catholic priest, was first elected president of Haiti in 1991.

He was ousted in a military coup, spent three years in exile, and then was reinstated in 1994 during a US-led military intervention.

He returned to the presidency in 2001 but was forced to resign in 2004 and went into exile in South Africa for seven years. He returned to Haiti in March 2011.