Wife of Haiti’s assassinated president charged with assassination

Wife of Haiti’s assassinated president charged with assassination

A Haitian judge has indicted 51 people for their role in the 2021 assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, including his wife, Martine Moïse, accused of being an accomplice, although she was seriously injured in the attack.

A 122-page copy of Judge Walther Voltaire’s indictment that was provided to the New York Times does not accuse him of planning the murder and offers no direct evidence of his involvement.

Instead, it says she and other accomplices made statements contradicted by other witnesses, suggesting they were complicit in the murder. The indictment also names one of the main defendants in Haitian custody, who claimed that Ms. Moïse was plotting with others to take over the presidency.

These accusations echo those contained in a criminal complaint filed by a Haitian prosecutor and submitted to Mr. Voltaire. The official charge against Ms. Moïse is conspiracy to murder.

A lawyer for Ms. Moses, Paul Turner, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

But Mr. Turner, who is based in South Florida, had previously denied the accusations in the criminal complaint.

“She was a victim, as were her children who were there and her husband,” he told the Times. Mr Turner said his client was in hiding and her current location was unknown to all but a few people.

Ms. Moïse has long criticized the Haitian investigation, saying officials have shown little interest in unmasking the masterminds of the crime.

Mr. Moïse, 53, was killed in the early hours of July 7, 2021, when a team of Colombian commandos, hired by a Miami-area security company, stormed the president’s suburban home well-off in the Haitian capital, according to the Haitian Survey.

The president and his wife were shot dead after the gunmen entered the couple’s bedroom and ransacked the house, apparently looking for documents and money.

In statements immediately after the killing, Ms. Moïse said she hid under the couple’s bed to protect herself from the attackers, according to the Jan. 25 indictment. It was obtained by AyiboPost, a Haitian online news site.

However, the indictment says the gap between the bed and the floor was 14 to 18 inches, raising questions about his credibility.

In an interview with The Times several weeks after her husband’s murder, Ms. Moïse recalled being shot in the hand and elbow and hearing their attackers searching for something in Mr. Moïse’s files.

The case against Mr. Moïse’s widow also relies on the testimony of a key witness, Joseph Badio, a former Justice Department official accused of being one of the orchestrators of the assassination. Mr. Badio was arrested last October after spending two years in hiding.

According to the indictment, Mr. Badio said Ms. Moïse plotted with others, including Claude Joseph, who was prime minister at the time of the assassination, to get rid of her husband “in order to monopolize power.” .

Despite two and a half years of investigation, the indictment leaves many questions unanswered. Although it gives some details about the night of the assassination, it does not explain the motive for the crime or how it was financed.

A separate U.S. investigation in Miami resulted in federal charges against 11 men accused of plotting to kill Mr. Moïse. Six men have pleaded guilty, while the other five are expected to go to trial in May. Ms. Moïse should be a witness.

Some critics said they believed the Haiti indictment was tainted by politics, accusing Prime Minister Ariel Henry’s government of using the investigation to attack its critics, including Ms. Moïse and Mr. Joseph.

“They are using the Haitian justice system to advance their Machiavellian agenda,” Mr. Joseph said.

Mr. Henry’s office said there was no interference in the investigation.

“The Prime Minister has no direct relationship with the investigating judge, and he does not control him either,” said Jean-Junior Joseph, Mr. Henry’s spokesperson. “The judge remains free to make his order in accordance with the law and his conscience.”

In the Haitian legal system, the initial complaint was prepared by a prosecutor, Edler Guillaume, politically appointed by the current government.

The charges cited by Mr. Voltaire may be appealed within 10 days after the accused receives a copy of the indictment.

Since Mr. Moïse’s death, gangs have taken control of much of the capital, Port-au-Prince, killing and kidnapping thousands of people. Haiti no longer has a president, nor any other nationally elected official, after the terms of members of the country’s legislature expired.

The United Nations approved the deployment of a Kenyan-led security force to Haiti to help quell the violence, but it was blocked last month by a Kenyan court, although the Kenyan government, which is appealing the decision, said he was still considering doing so. send police officers to Haiti.

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Eric D. Eilerman

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