HAITI: Chief prosecutor calls for PM to be charged in president’s killing – Now FIRED by PM

By – September 14, 2021
Prime Minister Ariel Henry

Prime Minister Ariel Henry

HAVANA, (Reuters) – Haiti’s chief public prosecutor has asked the judge overseeing the investigation into the assassination of President Jovenel Moise to charge Prime Minister Ariel Henry as a suspect and ordered migration services not to let him leave the country.

In a letter to Judge Garry Orelien, prosecutor Bed-Ford Claude said phone records showed Henry twice communicated with a key suspect in Moise’s killing on the night of the crime on July 7. That suspect, a former justice ministry official whom Henry has publicly defended, is now on the run.     

Henry should be “forbidden from leaving the national territory by air, sea or road due to serious presumption relative to the assassination of the president,” Claude wrote in a letter to the country’s Migration Services.

Chenald Augustin, who works in the prime minister’s communications office, said it did not have an immediate comment. The premier last week dismissed the charges against him as politicking.

Moise was shot dead when assassins stormed his private residence in the hills above Port-au-Prince, plunging the impoverished Caribbean country deeper into turmoil and a political vacuum.

The 53-year old former provincial businessman had been governing by decree for more than a year after Haiti failed to hold legislative and municipal elections amid a political gridlock and had faced many calls to step down.

Decades of political instability as well as natural catastrophes have plagued Haiti’s development. Its aid-dependent economy is the poorest in the Americas, more than a third of Haitians face acute food insecurity, and gangs have turned swathes of the capital into no go areas.

Claude had invited Henry on Friday to meet with him to discuss the phone calls with the suspect, noting that he could only summon the premier on presidential orders, but that the country remained without a president.

Haiti’s Office of Citizen Protection demanded on Saturday Henry step down and hand himself over to the justice system.

Henry retorted on Twitter that “no distraction, invitation, summons, maneuver, menace or rearguard action” would distract him from his work.

The prime minister announced on Saturday that Haiti’s main political forces had reached an agreement to establish a transition government until the holding of presidential elections and a referendum on whether to adopt a new constitution next year.

The agreement establishes a Council of Ministers under Henry’s leadership.

A constituent assembly made of 33 members appointed by institutions and civil society organizations will have three months to prepare the new constitution.

Moise’s own attempts at holding elections and a constitutional referendum were attacked for being too partisan. Critics called them veiled attempts at installing a dictatorship.

His supporters said he was being punished for going after a corrupt ruling elite and seeking to end undue privileges.

——

UPDATE

Haiti PM fires prosecutor seeking charges against him in president’s killing

..
HAVANA (Reuters) — Haitian Prime Minister, Ariel Henry on Tuesday replaced the chief public prosecutor who had been seeking charges against him as a suspect in the assassination of President Jovenel Moise, plunging the country into a fresh political crisis.

Moise was shot dead on July 7 when assassins stormed his private residence in the hills above Port-au-Prince. The 53-year old had been governing by decree for more than a year after Haiti failed to hold legislative and municipal elections amid a political gridlock and had faced many calls to step down.

His death has left Haiti in an even deeper constitutional and political crisis as it has only a handful of elected officials nationwide.

Henry, a political moderate and neurosurgeon whom Moise named prime minister just days before his death in an attempt to reduce political tensions, has sought to forge a new consensus between different political factions.

But allegations over his possible involvement in Moise’s killing are now overshadowing that.     

Prosecutor Bed-Ford Claude said last week that phone records showed Henry had twice communicated with a man believed to be the mastermind behind Moise’s killing on the night of the crime.

That suspect, a former justice ministry official whom Henry has publicly defended, is now on the run.

Henry dismissed his request to discuss the matter as politicking and did not respond to the allegations.

That prompted Claude to write on Tuesday to the judge overseeing the investigation into Moise’s slaying and ask him to charge Henry as a suspect.

He also wrote to Haitian migration services ordering them not to let the prime minister leave the country “due to serious presumption relative to the assassination of the president,”

Later on Tuesday, a letter from Henry to Claude dated Sept. 13 emerged in which he said he was firing him for “grave administrative error,” without going into detail. In a separate letter dated Sept. 14, he named Frantz Louis Juste to the post.

It remains unclear whether the order actually is valid as Haiti’s 1987 constitution mandates that the prosecutor can only be appointed or fired by the president, a position that remains vacant.

SEEKING POLITICAL STABILITY

Decades of political instability as well as natural catastrophes have plagued Haiti’s development. Its aid-dependent economy is the poorest in the Americas, more than a third of Haitians face acute food insecurity https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/haitis-hunger-crisis-bites-deeper-after-devastating-quake-2021-08-30, and gangs https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/haiti-gang-leader-launches-revolution-violence-escalates-2021-06-24 have turned swathes of the capital into no go areas.

Claude had invited Henry on Friday to meet with him to discuss the phone calls with the suspect, noting that he could only summon the premier on presidential orders, but the country was without a president.

Haiti’s Office of Citizen Protection demanded on Saturday Henry step down and hand himself over to the justice system.

Henry retorted on Twitter that “no distraction, invitation, summons, maneuver, menace or rearguard action” would distract him from his work.

The prime minister announced on Saturday that Haiti’s main political forces had reached an agreement to establish a transition government until the holding of presidential elections and a referendum on whether to adopt a new constitution next year.

The agreement establishes a Council of Ministers under Henry’s leadership.

A constituent assembly made of 33 members appointed by institutions and civil society organizations will have three months to prepare the new constitution.

Moise’s own attempts at holding elections and a constitutional referendum were attacked for being too partisan. Critics called them veiled attempts at installing a dictatorship.

His supporters said he was being punished for going after a corrupt ruling elite and seeking to end undue privileges.

(Reporting by Sarah Marsh; Editing by Steve Orlofsky, Rosalba O’Brien and Grant McCool)

 

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Comments

  • brandli62  On 09/15/2021 at 7:04 am

    The next twist in this dark and tragic story. I surely hope that the truth will be uncovered soon!

  • carament  On 09/15/2021 at 4:15 pm

    The truth is already established. From one of the richest little countries in the hemisphere to now the poorest??? Having twice asserted its independence away from colonialism; both times through military defeat of the imperialists, unless the world order changes, Ayiti will never be allowed to emerge as a successful nation state. The indelible black stain of defeat that it placed on the white face of colonial slavery, yet, leaves the would-be former masters the question: “With what spirit they fought and won?” Ayiti is that experiment in freedom sought and gained, that continues to irritate the bruised ego of euro-american geopolitical “backyardism”.

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