Haiti’s chaotic political environment took another turn on Tuesday after the country’s chief prosecutor asked a judge investigating the July 7 assassination of President Jovenel Moise to charge Prime Minister Ariel Henry with involvement in the case over alleged phone calls he made to the main suspect.
The announcement by Bed-Ford Claude, the Port-au-Prince Government Commissioner, came even as Prime Minister Henry had announced on Monday night that he had dismissed Claude and two others, including the Justice Minister Rockefeller Vincent.
But the prosecutor is accusing Prime Minister Henry of communicating with Joseph Badio, a fugitive who once worked at Haiti’s Ministry of Justice and at the government’s anti-corruption unit.
Claude has also requested that Prime Minister Henry be barred from leaving Haiti “due to the gravity of the facts exposed.
“There are enough compromising elements … to prosecute Henry and ask for his outright indictment,” Claude wrote in the order.
Last week, Claude had invited Prime Minister Henry to explain to the authorities the content of two phone calls made on the night of the assassination of President Moïse.
Claude said that the calls were with Badio, one of the main suspects in the assassination of President Moïse and is on the run and wanted by the police. He said evidence shows that Badio was in the vicinity of the president’s home when the calls were made.
The calls lasted a total of seven minutes and Henry was at the Hotel Montana in Port-au-Prince at the time, Claude also said, noting that a government official tweeted last month that Henry told him he never spoke with Badio.
“The head of the criminal prosecution would be grateful if you so wish, taking into account the restrictions given your status as a senior state official,” Claude said in his invitation to Prime Minister Henry, who was appointed to the post two weeks after Moise’s murder.
But he has rejected what he said were “diversionary tactics” aimed at sowing confusion and preventing justice from being served.
“The real culprits, the masterminds and sponsors of the odious assassination of President Jovenel Moise, will be identified, brought to justice and punished for their crime,” Henry said on Twitter on September 11.
On Monday, Haiti’s Office of Citizen Protection, an ombudsman-like body, demanded Prime Minister Henry step down and urged him to appear in the prosecutor’s office.
The authorities have detained more than 40 suspects, including 18 former Colombian soldiers and three Haitian Americans in connection with the assassination.