IIn Haiti, the public prosecutor wants to indict the head of government for possible involvement in the murder of the head of state Jovenel Moïse in early July. The chief public prosecutor for the capital Port-au-Prince, Bed-Ford Claude, called on the judge responsible for the murder investigation on Tuesday to indict Prime Minister Ariel Henry.
Henry had phoned one of the prime suspects in the case. Prosecutor Claude also called for Henry to be banned from leaving the country “because of the gravity of the facts revealed”.
A few hours after the allegations became known, Haitian media reported a letter of dismissal from Henry to Claude, dated Monday. The dismissal of the public prosecutor is justified with a “serious administrative error” and should apply upon receipt of the letter.
Assault by a murder squad
Head of state Moïse was shot dead by a murder squad in his home in Port-au-Prince on the night of July 7th. His wife survived seriously injured. The President had named Henry as the new Prime Minister as one of his final acts.
Before Henry could take office in mid-July, however, he fought a power struggle with interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph. As a result, Joseph became foreign minister again.
The Haitian government had put a bounty on three prime suspects for the murder in late August. Those wanted were Wendelle Coq Thelot, a former Supreme Court judge, Joseph Felix Badio, a former anti-corruption official, and John Joel Joseph, a former opposition senator.
Police have already arrested dozens of suspects in connection with the President’s assassination, including Haitian police officers, Colombian mercenaries and two US citizens of Haitian origin. Moïse’s chief security officer is among those arrested. According to police, the attack was planned by Haitians with political ambitions and connections abroad.
The murder plunged the Caribbean state, which was already marked by instability and great poverty, into an even deeper crisis. Moïse had last ruled Haiti by decree after a parliamentary election planned for 2018 was postponed, among other things because of protests against him. The president was unpopular: Many Haitians blamed him for the corona crisis in the country and the increasing violence by criminal gangs.