Haiti Prosecutor Seeks Charges Against Prime Minister Henry For Assassination Of President Moise
Haiti’s top prosecutor said Tuesday he was seeking charges against Prime Minister Ariel Henry for the July assassination of President Jovenel Moise.
The Port-au-Prince government commissioner, the equivalent of a federal prosecutor, asked the judge investigating the murder to accuse Henry of being involved in the case because of alleged phone calls Henry made with one of the main suspects.
“There are enough compromising elements that form (my) conviction about the advisability of prosecuting Mr. Henry and requesting his direct indictment,” wrote Bed-Fort Claude, the commissioner, in an official letter addressed to a court in Port-au-Prince.
In a second letter, sent to the director of immigration administration, Claude requested that Henry be prohibited from leaving the island nation “due to serious presumptions of assassination of the President of the Republic.”
Moise, a politically and publicly controversial figure, was assassinated during the night of July 6-7 when an armed group broke into his private residence in the Haitian capital.
Henry had already been asked to appear for questioning in the case, about the alleged conversations he had a few hours after Moise’s murder with a wanted former government official in connection with the murder.
On Friday, Claude had asked Henry to show up Tuesday to answer questions about the calls.
The police are still actively searching for former official Joseph Felix Badio, who worked in the anti-corruption unit of the Ministry of Justice.
Badio’s phone was allegedly traced to the area near Moise’s residence when Badio called Henry twice in the early hours of July 7, after the president was assassinated.
In his letter to the judge, Claude said the calls lasted a total of seven minutes. He also noted that a government official tweeted last month that Henry claimed he never spoke to Badio.
Henry on Saturday criticized the earlier request, saying: “These diversionary tactics, designed to create confusion and prevent justice from taking its course in stride, will not be upheld.”
“Those who are truly guilty, the intellectual authors of the heinous assassination of President Jovenel Moise and those who ordered it, will be found, brought to justice and punished for their actions.”
A prime minister cannot legally be interrogated unless authorized by the president, but after Moise’s assassination, Haiti has no president.
So far, 44 people, including 18 Colombians and two Americans of Haitian descent, have been arrested in connection with the investigation into Moise’s murder. None of the president’s security guards were injured in the attack.
Henry was appointed prime minister by Moise days before the president’s death and was sworn in on July 20, pledging to improve the country’s dire security and to organize long-delayed elections.