Haitian Judge Charges Ex-Leaders in Ex-President’s Death

(HorizonPost.com) – The judge overseeing the investigation into the 2021 assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse on Monday indicted former Prime Minister Claude Joseph, former Haitian National Police Chief Léon Charles, the late president’s widow Martine Moïse, and dozens of others, the Associated Press reported.

Léon Charles served as national police chief at the time President Moïse was assassinated. Currently, Charles is the permanent representative from Haiti to the Organization of the American States. Judge Walther Wesser Voltaire indicted Charles with the most serious charges, including murder, attempted murder, conspiracy against internal state security, and criminal association.

Claude Joseph and Martine Moïse face charges of criminal association and complicity.

The high-profile indictments could further destabilize the country as it struggles to recover from violent protests calling for the resignation of Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry.

In a statement to the Associated Press, Claude Joseph accused his successor of “undermining” the years-long investigation into Moïse’s assassination by “weaponizing” the justice system to prosecute his political opponents. Joseph accused Prime Minister Henry of launching a “classic coup d’état.”

The former prime minister suggested that Henry was using the justice system to succeed where the assassins failed by prosecuting him and Martine Moïse, who was wounded by gunmen during the July 2021 assassination of her husband.

Joseph demanded the resignation of Henry. He told the Associated Press that when he was serving as prime minister, Joseph requested that the FBI, the United Nations, and the Organization for American States help in the investigation into Moïse’s assassination.

In his indictment, Judge Voltaire wrote that Lyonel Valbrun, the former National Palace secretary general, told investigators that he was pressured by Martine Moïse to give Claude Joseph access to President Moïse’s office, and two days before the assassination, Martine spent five hours at the National Palace removing “a bunch of things.”

Voltaire also noted that Martine claimed to have taken refuge under the bed during the attack but investigators suggested that it would have been impossible for her to fit under the bed. He wrote that her statements were “tainted with contradictions” that discredited her.

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