MONTEVIDEO - Uruguay will apologize to Haiti and compensate an 18-year-old Haitian man allegedly raped by Uruguayan UN troops in the poor Caribbean state, the Uruguayan defense minister said on Tuesday.

Public outrage in the earthquake-ravaged nation has simmered over a video shot by a cellphone camera and circulating on the Internet that shows laughing Uruguayan marines pinning the young Haitian face down on a mattress and apparently assaulting him sexually.

"Our biggest concern is to apologize to Haiti's government as soon as possible and to compensate the victim," Defense Minister Eleuterio Fernandez Huidobro told reporters after meeting with lawmakers on Tuesday. "We want to be thorough with the investigations and apply the harshest of sanctions," Fernandez Huidobro said.

The alleged victim, Johnny Jean, and his mother, Rose Marie Jean, told Haitian radio stations he had been raped by Uruguayan marines and provided testimony to a judge in the southern town of Port-Salut, where the incident allegedly took place on July 28.

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