Haiti’s top prosecutor said on Tuesday he was seeking charges against Prime Minister Ariel Henry for the July assassination of President Jovenel Moise.
The Port-au-Prince government commissioner, the equivalent of a federal prosecutor, asked the examining magistrate to charge Henry with involvement in the case over alleged phone calls Henry made with one of the main suspects.
“There are enough compromising elements that form (my) conviction on the advisability of prosecuting Mr. Henry and asking for his outright indictment,” wrote Bed-Fort Claude, the commissioner, in an official letter to a court in Port-au-Prince.
In a second letter, addressed to the director of the migration administration, Claude asks Henry to be prohibited from leaving the island nation “for serious suspicions of the assassination of the President of the Republic”.
Moise, a politically and publicly controversial figure, was killed on the night of July 6-7 when an armed group broke into his private residence in the Haitian capital.
Henry had previously been invited to appear for questioning in the case, over alleged conversations he allegedly had just hours after Moise’s murder with a former government official wanted in the murder.
Claude had asked Henry on Friday to appear on Tuesday to answer questions about the appeals.
Police are still actively looking for the former official, Joseph Felix Badio, who worked in the anti-corruption unit of the Ministry of Justice.
Badio’s phone was reportedly located in the area near Moise’s residence when Badio called Henry twice in the early hours of July 7, following the assassination of the president.
In his letter to the judge, Claude said the appeals lasted a total of seven minutes. He also noted that a government official tweeted last month Henry claimed he had never spoken with Badio.
Henry criticized the previous request on Saturday, saying: “These diversionary tactics, designed to create confusion and prevent justice from running its course calmly, will not resist.”
“Those who are truly guilty, the masterminds of the heinous assassination of President Jovenel Moise and those who ordered it, will be found, brought to justice and punished for their actions.”
A prime minister cannot legally be questioned unless the president allows it, but following the murder of Moise, Haiti does not have a president.
So far, 44 people – including 18 Colombians and two Americans of Haitian descent – have been arrested in connection with the investigation into Moise’s assassination. None of the president’s security guards were injured in the attack.
Henry was appointed by Moise as prime minister days before the president’s death and was sworn in on July 20, pledging to improve the country’s terrible security and hold long-delayed elections.