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Haiti’s chief prosecutor is charging Prime Minister Ariel Henry in connection with the assassination of President Jovenel Moise and alleging that the Prime Minister communicated with a prime suspect in the case the night Moise was murdered.
JUST IN: Haiti’s chief prosecutor is seeking charges against Prime Minister Ariel Henry over his alleged involvement in the assassination of President Jovenel Moise.
According to the prosecutor, Henry exchanged phone calls with one of the main suspects. pic.twitter.com/mULkpGubN4
— DW News (@dwnews) September 14, 2021
Bed-Ford Claude, the government commissioner of Port-au-Prince, the equivalent of a federal prosecutor, on Tuesday asked the investigating magistrate of the murder to charge Henry with involvement in the case over alleged telephone conversations Henry made with the suspect.
Claude also requested that Henry be prevented from leaving Haiti “because of the gravity of the facts revealed”.
“There are enough compromising elements … to prosecute Henry and obtain his direct indictment,” wrote Claude in the order.
There was no immediate response from the prime minister, who was formally appointed to the post less than two weeks after the assassination, or from his office.
Moise was killed on 7 July in an attack by armed men on his private home in the capital, Port-au-Prince.
The assassination plunged Haiti, a country already struggling with widespread political instability and mounting gang violence, into a deeper crisis and fueled local fears that the violence could get worse.
Claude’s order on Tuesday came just days after he “invited” Henry to meet with him to explain why he spoke to one of the prime suspects in Moise’s murder.
A day later, the Prime Minister rejected “diversionary tactics” aimed at creating confusion and preventing justice from being served.
“The real culprits, the masterminds and sponsors of the heinous assassination of President Jovenel Moise, will be identified, brought to justice and punished for their crimes,” Henry said on Twitter on September 11th.
On Monday, Haiti’s Office of Citizen Protection, an ombudsman-like body, urged Henry to resign and asked him to appear at the prosecutor’s office to clarify the situation.
“We would all like to hear the content of this conversation,” said attorney Renan Hedouville, who heads the office, of the reported calls between Henry and Joseph Badio, a refugee who was once with the Haitian Justice Department and the Anti-Corruption Unit.
Badio was fired in May for violating unspecified ethical rules.
In his two-way order, Claude said the calls were made on July 7th at 4:03 and 4:20 a.m. local time and said evidence shows that Badio was near Moise’s house at the time.
The calls lasted a total of seven minutes and Henry was at the Hotel Montana in Port-au-Prince at the time, Claude also said, noting that a government official tweeted last month that Henry had told him he had never spoken to Badio.
“The prime minister cannot stay in office without clearing up these dark areas,” said Hedouville. “He has to wash away any suspicions.”
More than 40 suspects have been arrested in the case so far, including 18 former Colombian soldiers and three Haitian Americans. Authorities are still looking for other suspects, including Badio and a former Haitian senator.
But many questions about what happened remain unanswered. “The country is still asking for answers,” Laurent Lamothe, who served as Haitian prime minister from 2012 to 2014, told Al Jazeera a month after the assassination.