Haiti Calls on Jamaica, Columbia for Help Apprehending Assassination Suspect

haiti suspect in jamaica
Mario Palacios Palacios

Haiti’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Claude Joseph, has written to Jamaica and Colombia to request the transfer of Mario Palacios Palacios – the suspect in the assassination of President Jovenel Moise.

Joseph formally wrote to both countries on October 28 and requested that Palacios Palacios be sent to Haiti.

Palacios, a Colombian who was also a military officer, was arrested during an operation in the central Jamaican parish of Manchester in October.

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He was the subject of an international arrest warrant.

In his letter to Foreign Affairs Minister Kamina Johnson-Smith, Joseph requested mutual legal assistance to advance the probe into the assassination of President Moise at his private residence on July 7.

Moïse was tortured and shot multiple times, while his wife, Martine, was seriously injured.

According to the investigation, the assassination suspect, Palacios, was part of the commando of four men who entered the President’s room to assassinate him. Two of the members of this commando were later killed by the Haitian police in a clash, the other two, including Palacios, managed to escape.

Police say they also are looking for other people accused of involvement in the killing, including a former Haitian senator and Joseph Badio, who once worked for Haiti’s Ministry of Justice and at the government’s anti-corruption unit until he was fired in May amid accusations of violating unspecified ethical rules.

Moïse was fatally shot at his private home in a pre-dawn attack in which his wife, Martine Moïse, was wounded.

The investigation into the assassination has faced multiple obstacles and led to the dismissal of a justice minister and the chief prosecutor for the capital of Port-au-Prince. The first judge assigned to oversee the investigation stepped down in August citing personal reasons. He left after one of his assistants died in unclear circumstances.

Court clerks who were helping investigate the killing also have gone into hiding after receiving death threats if they didn’t change certain names and statements in their reports.

The presidential assassination shocked the nation of more than 11 million people and has deepened the country’s political instability, with protesters on Thursday calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Ariel Henry as they decried a spike in crime and demanded better living conditions.

Henry recently told AP that he expects to hold presidential and legislative elections next year.