Haiti Prime Minister Invited to Testify at Assassination Hearing

haiti prime minister henry
Ariel Henry speaks during his appointment as the new Prime Minister in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Tuesday, July 20, 2021, weeks after the assassination of President Jovenel Moise at his home. (AP Photo/Matias Delacroix)

Haiti’s chief public prosecutor invited Prime Minister Ariel Henry to meet with him in the coming days as part of an ongoing investigation into the slaying of President Jovenel Moïse.

The chief prosecutor Bedford Claude, noted that Henry spoke with one of the main suspects in the case just hours after the killing.

The invitation noted that Henry had multiple phone calls with fugitive Joseph Felix Badio, who once worked for Haiti’s Ministry of Justice and authorities say had a key role leading up to the July 7 killing of the president at his private home.

Claude, Port-au-Prince’s chief prosecutor, said two of the calls occurred at 4:03 a.m. and 4:20 a.m. (local time) on July 7 just hours after the killing. He said evidence shows that Badio was in the vicinity of the president’s home when the calls were made.

Claude told the prime minister that he was requesting a meeting with him to verify the content of those conversations, although he implied it wasn’t mandatory.

“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,” the invitation read.

He added that the invitation issued to Henry was justified given what he called a “case of extreme gravity for the nation” and a power vacuum that prevented authorities from obtaining prior authorization from a president to request that Henry appear at the public prosecutor’s office.

The invitation sent to Henry comes as authorities seek to arrest additional suspects in the slaying, including Badio.

More than 40 suspects have been arrested in the case, including 18 former Colombian soldiers who recently accused Haitian police of torture. A police spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment.

Last month, a Haitian judge appointed to oversee the investigation stepped down, citing personal reasons. The move came after one of his assistants died under unclear circumstances.

A new judge has since been appointed.

CMC

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