Widow, ex-prime minister and former police chief indicted in 2021 assassination of Haiti’s president

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Haiti’s President Jovenel Moise sits with his wife Martine during his swearing-in ceremony at Parliament in Port-au-Prince, Haiti on Feb 7, 2017. (AP)

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Feb 20, (AP): A judge in Haiti responsible for investigating the July 2021 assassination of President Jovenel Moïse has indicted his widow, Martine Moïse, ex-prime minister Claude Joseph and the former chief of Haiti’s National Police, Léon Charles, among others, according to a report obtained Monday.
The indictments are expected to further destabilize Haiti as it struggles with a surge in gang violence and recovers from a spate of violent protests demanding the resignation of current Prime Minister Ariel Henry.
Dozens of suspects were indicted in the 122-page report issued by Walther Wesser Voltaire, who is the fifth judge to lead the investigation after previous ones stepped down for various reasons, including fear of being killed.
Charles, who was police chief when Moïse was killed and now serves as Haiti’s permanent representative to the Organization of the American States, faces the most serious charges: murder; attempted murder; possession and illegal carrying of weapons; conspiracy against the internal security of the state; and criminal association.
Meanwhile, Joseph and Martine Moïse, who was injured in the attack, are accused of complicity and criminal association.
Charles could not be immediately reached for comment, and Martine Moïse’s attorney did not return a message for comment,
Meanwhile, Joseph, the former prime minister, shared a statement with The Associated Press accusing Henry of “undermining” the investigation and benefitting from the president’s death.
“Henry … is weaponizing the Haitian justice system, prosecuting political opponents like me. It’s a classic coup d’état,” Joseph said. “They failed to kill me and Martine Moïse on July 7, 2021, now they are using the Haitian justice system to advance their Machiavellian agenda.”
Joseph again called on Henry to resign and noted that while he was still prime minister, he invited the FBI to help local authorities investigate the killing and wrote the UN and OAS for help.
“I won’t stop my fight. Justice must be served,” he said.
In his report, the judge noted that the former secretary general of the National Palace, Lyonel Valbrun, told authorities that he received “strong pressure” from Martine Moïse to put the president’s office at the disposal of Joseph because he needed it to “organize a council of ministers.”

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