News Americas, MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay, Thurs. Sept. 8, 2011: An alleged sex abuse of a Haitian young man by five Uruguayan military peacekeepers has elicited an apology from the country’s President.

President Jose Mujica sent a personally signed letter late Tuesday to Haitian President Michel Martelly, asking for forgiveness from him and the “beloved and heroic people of Haiti” for what he described as “the criminal and embarrassing conduct of a few” Uruguayans.

The apology comes after Martelly condemned the apparent assault inside a base in Port-Salut, Haiti, as “collective rape.”

Mujica for his part called it an affront to “the national conscience of the Haitian people” and said he personally feels ashamed for his countrymen.
He also promised a complete investigation and said those responsible will receive the maximum penalties.

A cell phone that made its way to the Internet showed several officers holding down and assaulting the 18-year-old man. The video shows him repeatedly saying “no problem” as the sailors shout at him and hold him face-down on a mattress while a peacekeeper simulates a sex act between his legs and slaps him.

Eduardo del Buey, Deputy Spokesperson for the Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, said a preliminary probe carried out by the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) “determined that it was necessary to instigate a full and thorough investigation” into the alleged abuses committed in Port-Salut.

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