Haitian prosecutor asked to indict the prime minister for the murder of Jovenel Moïse

Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry removed the nation’s attorney general, Bed-Ford Claude. Hours earlier, Claude had called for the prime minister to be charged for ties to one of the suspects in the assassination of the Haitian president, Jovenel Moïse, on July 7. The prosecutor had also asked that Henry not be allowed to leave the country. The fact adds to the already tense political situation in the country, which still has no clarity about the motives and perpetrators of the assassination.

“There are enough compromising elements to prosecute Henry and call for his direct indictment,” wrote the attorney general, Bed-Ford Claude, in a letter addressed to Garry Orélien, judge in charge of the case of the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse.

In another order, but this time addressed to the country’s Migration Services, it asked “to prohibit him from leaving the national territory by air, sea or land due to the serious presumption related to the assassination of the president.”

Hours after presenting the letters, the prime minister announced the dismissal of prosecutor Bel-Ford Claude through a statement dated last Monday. The decision, according to the document, was made for a “serious administrative offense” committed by Claude.

Last week Claude had already “invited” the prime minister to testify about two phone calls he had with one of the key suspects in the assassination of Moïse, Joseph Badio, a former official of the Ministry of Justice. However, Henry had denied the summons.

However, the prosecutor raised his tone and in a two-page document detailed the evidence that allegedly links him to the murder. The calls, according to the text, took place in the early morning of July 7 and lasted seven minutes and took place when Henry was at the Hotel Montana in Port-au-Prince.

Now, it is Judge Orelien who is obliged to investigate based on Claude’s request, since he is the only authority that can call witnesses on the case to testify. To do this, it will have three months to determine if the facts presented this Tuesday justify any additional action.

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Prime Minister Ariel Henry defends himself

A few days ago when the first subpoena was presented, the prime minister had said in a tweet that: “no distraction, no summons or invitation, no maneuver, no threat, no rear-guard combat, will distract me from my mission.”

The situation in front of the prime minister is tense. A few days ago, the Haitian Citizen Protection Office demanded Henry’s resignation and asked the international community to deny him its support.

Haiti’s fragile political stability

Last Saturday, the prime minister reached an agreement with the opposition and the main political forces in the country to establish a transitional government until new presidential elections in 2022. The pact also includes the election of 33 representatives from different spheres Haitian social organizations to draft a new Constitution.

The treaty had generated a sense of political stability that the country lacked. However, the prosecutor’s request casts doubt on the soundness of this agreement.

An expert on Haitian politics at the University of Virginia, Robert Fatton, explained to the AP that Haiti is experiencing “a very confusing situation, a power struggle at the moment, and we will see who wins it.”

On the other hand, the Haitian Minister of Justice, Rockfeller Vincent, requested that the National Police reinforce the security of prosecutor Claude, as he had received threats in the last five days.

The assassination of Moïse: a case that lacks certain answers

There are more than 40 suspects who have been arrested in the case, including the 18 former Colombian soldiers. Authorities continue to search for others, including Badio, with whom the Haitian prime minister allegedly spoke.

Several of the court clerks have said they received death threats and, according to the AP, have also been asked to change the names and statements in their reports.

Additionally, another judge who had been appointed to oversee the investigation passed his resignation last month for alleged personal reasons. So a new judge was appointed.

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