Haiti prosecutor seeks charges against prime minister for Jovenel Moise's assassination

Ariel Henry reportedly communicated with key figure in president's assassination

Haiti's prosecutor is seeking charges against prime minister Ariel Henry in the assassination of president Jovenel Moise.

AFP reported that authorities in Haiti want to interview Mr Henry about telephone calls he reportedly had with a key suspect in the president’s assassination.

On Monday, Haiti’s Office of Citizen Protection posted a video demanding that Mr Henry step down until the matter is cleared.

Lawyer Renan Hedouville, who directs the ombudsman-like office, said Mr Henry should appear at the public prosecutor’s office as requested to help shed light on the July 7 killing of Moise at his home.

He described the office’s decision to call for Mr Henry’s resignation as “objective and courageous” and also urged the international community to stop supporting Mr Henry.

“We would all love to know the content of that conversation,” Mr Hedouville said of the reported calls between Mr Henry and Joseph Badio, a fugitive who once worked at Haiti’s Ministry of Justice and at the government’s anti-corruption unit until he was fired in May amid accusations of violating unspecified ethical rules.

On Friday, Bedford Claude, chief prosecutor for the capital of Port-au-Prince, issued a letter to Mr Henry asking to meet him this week if the prime minister agreed.

Mr Claude said he has evidence that Mr Henry and Mr Badio talked twice in the predawn hours shortly after the assassination and that he is seeking details about the content of those phone calls.

“The prime minister cannot remain in his post without clearing up these dark areas,” Mr Hedouville said. “He must wash away all suspicion.”

Mr Henry has not directly addressed Mr Claude’s letter in public, but during a meeting with political leaders on Saturday to sign an accord, he said he would keep pushing to help stabilise Haiti.

“Rest assured that no distraction, no summons or invitation, no manoeuvre, no threat, no rearguard combat, no aggression will distract me from my mission,” Mr Henry said. “The real culprits, the intellectual authors and co-author and sponsor of the assassination of President Jovenel Moise will be found and brought to justice and punished for their crimes.”

More than 40 people have been arrested in the case, including 18 former Colombian soldiers. Authorities are still looking for additional people believed to have been involved in the assassination, including Mr Badio and a former Haitian senator.

The justice minister tweeted last week that people he did not identify were trying to control Haitian judges, prosecutors and other officials to help cover for those involved in the killing and to persecute political adversaries.

“With me, that macabre plan will remain an illusion,” Mr Vincent wrote.

Updated: September 14th 2021, 5:32 PM
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