U.S. Monitors Probe of Haitian President’s Assassination, Yet Backs Prime Minister Henry, A Possible Suspect

Ariel Henry
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Prime Minister Henry. Suspect in president's assassination? Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The United States is walking a tight-rope following the recommendation by a Haitian prosecutor that Prime Minister Ariel Henry be charged for an alleged role in the assassination of President Jovenel Moise by a hit-squad on July 7.

The U.S., other Western agencies and the U.N. had supported the installation of Henry—who was also Moise’s designated prime minister before he was killed. The Western backing for Henry accounts for the cautious reaction since prosecutor Bed-Ford Claude’s explosive announcement. 

The prosecutor, who said Henry must explain why records show that he spoke on the phone two times with one of the assassins after Moise's killing, was promptly fired on Tuesday this week hours after his statement. He said Henry spoke with one of the alleged assassins, Joseph Badio, at 4:03 a.m. and 4:20 a.m. on July 7,  hours after the murder. Badio was reportedly near the scene of the assassination while Henry was reportedly at the Hotel Montana in Port-au-Prince, the capital. 

Asked whether the U.S. supports the recommendation by Claude that Henry be prosecuted, a spokesperson for the State Department said: "The United States is closely following developments in the ongoing investigation into Haitian President Moise’s assassination. We support a thorough and transparent investigation to ensure the prosecution of this heinous crime and urge all parties to follow due process in accordance with the rule of law."

The spokesperson deflected the question when asked for a response about the firing of prosecutor Claude, saying:  "We refer you to the Government of Haiti on the progress of its investigation into President Moise’s assassination."

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