Prosecutors in Haiti are seeking charges against the Prime Minister for the assassination of the president.
President Jovenel Moise was assassinated in July, and Haiti’s top prosecutor announced Tuesday that he was seeking charges against Prime Minister Ariel Henry.
Due to reported phone calls Henry made with one of the key suspects, the Port-au-Prince government commissioner, the equivalent of a federal prosecutor, asked the judge investigating the killing to charge Henry with involvement in the case.
In an official letter delivered to a Port-au-Prince court, Bed-Fort Claude, the commissioner, said, “There are sufficient compromising components that create (my) conviction on the appropriateness of prosecuting Mr. Henry and asking his outright indictment.”
Claude urged that Henry be barred from leaving the island nation in a second letter to the head of migration administration, citing “strong presumptions of assassination of the President of the Republic.”
Moise, a politically and publically divisive figure, was assassinated in his private apartment in the Haitian capital on the weekend of July 6 and 7.
Henry had already been summoned to testify in the case concerning alleged conversations he had with a former government official wanted in connection with Moise’s murder just hours after he was killed.
Claude had invited Henry to come on Tuesday to answer questions concerning the conversations, which he had done on Friday.
The former official, Joseph Felix Badio, who worked in the justice ministry’s anti-corruption branch, is still being sought by police.
When Badio phoned Henry twice in the early hours of July 7, after the president was slain, his phone was purportedly tracked to an area near Moise’s home.
The calls, according to Claude’s letter to the judge, lasted a total of seven minutes. He also brought up a tweet from a government employee last month, in which Henry stated he had never spoken with Badio.
“These diversionary methods, aimed to create uncertainty and prevent justice from running its course, will not stand,” Henry said on Saturday in response to the earlier request.
“Those who are genuinely guilty, the masterminds and those who ordered the heinous assassination of President Jovenel Moise, will be found, brought to justice, and punished.”
A prime minister cannot be questioned legally unless the president approves it, but Haiti lacks a president in the aftermath of Moise’s assassination.
So far, 44 people have been arrested in connection with Moise’s assassination, including 18 Colombians and two Americans of Haitian heritage. In the attack, none of the president’s security personnel were hurt.
Moise chose Henry to be the prime minister. Brief News from Washington Newsday.