Ousted Ex-Madagascar President Ignores Arrest Threat to Return Home

Posted January 21st, 2012 at 3:30 am (UTC-5)
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Madagascar's ousted exiled former President says he will be returning to his island homeland on Saturday.

Marc Ravalomanana, who spent the past three years in South Africa, said Saturday in Johannesburg that he will not be turned away like last year.

Ravalomanana and his wife have reportedly left Johannesburg on a commercial flight to Madagascar.

Security forces say he will be arrested if returns to Indian Ocean nation off Africa's southeastern coast.

Ravalomanana was sentenced in absentia to life in prison for the deaths of dozens of opposition protesters killed by his presidential security team in 2009, ahead of the coup that ousted him.

Last September, Ravalomanana agreed to a plan for restoring democracy to his island nation that left the military-backed President Andry Rajoelina, the coup leader, in charge until elections are held within one year.

Under the proposal Marc Ravalomanana could return to Madagascar.

The deal was brokered during months-long negotiations by the Southern African Development Community. It had been urging Madagascar to allow the return of Mr. Ravalomanana as part of a plan to restore democracy.

Ravalomanana and his wife are due to arrive in Madagascar Saturday afternoon.