Sep 14, 2021 - World

Haiti's chief prosecutor asks judge to charge PM in president's killing

Haiti Prime Minister Ariel Henry speaking in Port-au-Prince in July 2020.

Haiti Prime Minister Ariel Henry speaking in Port-au-Prince in July 2020. Photo: Richard Pierrin/Getty Images

Haiti's chief prosecutor asked a judge on Tuesday to charge Prime Minister Ariel Henry in connection to the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse and prevent him from leaving the country, AP reports.

Why it matters: Prosecutor Bed-Ford Claude said he had evidence that a key suspect in the assassination plot against Moïse called Henry twice just hours after the early morning killing.

  • Henry did not immediately comment on the prosecutor's request. He has previously denied any involvement to the assassination, per the New York Times.

The big picture: Henry assumed the role of prime minister in late July after then-acting Prime Minister Claude Joseph stepped down to end a brief leadership crisis following Moïse's death.

  • Moïse appointed Henry to serve as prime minister two days before his death, but he was not sworn in before the assassination took place, according to the Washington Post.
  • Joseph had claimed that Henry did not have the right to act as interim leader because he had not yet been sworn into the job when Moïse was killed, though he ultimately stepped down “for the good of the nation."

What they're saying: In the order to the court, prosecutor Claude said there "are enough compromising elements ... to prosecute Henry and ask for his outright indictment,” according to the AP.

  • The court order came on the same day that Claude attempted to meet with Henry to explain the phone calls from the key suspect, Joseph Badio, which lasted a total of seven minutes.
  • Badio previously worked for the country's Ministry of Justice and at the government’s anticorruption unit but was fired in May amid accusations of violating unspecified ethical rules.

Haiti's ambassador to the United States Bocchit Edmond said the day after Moïse's death that "there is no doubt" that the assassins had internal help to carry out the killing.

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