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Indictment of Haitian president’s widow a political hit, attorney says

  • Lawyers for Martine Moïse, the widow of assassinated Haitian President Jovenel Moïse, have argued that her charges in the case surrounding the killing are politically motivated.
  • Turner said of Prime Minister Ariel Henry’s government: “What are they doing? They indict people they think are opponents. There is no perception that she will or could run in the future. There definitely is,” he said. “Nothing else makes sense.”
  • Since Moïse’s death, Haiti has been subject to widespread sociopolitical unrest.

A lawyer for the widow of Jovenel Moïse, who was charged in the assassination of Haiti’s president, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that he believes the charges against her are politically motivated.

US-based lawyer Paul Turner said he was surprised by media reports this week detailing the charges against Martine Moïse and dozens of other suspects, including a former prime minister and a former police chief. He also questioned whether the judge’s report was true or finalized, saying Haitian government officials had not contacted his client as required and that the judge and other lawyers It noted that it had contacted the client for clarification.

“If there is a real reason to speak to Martine…if the situation is fair and just, we can accommodate her,” Turner said, adding that it is possible to speak online. “Or we could meet in the United States where we know there are no security concerns.”

Widow of Haitian President Moises close aide charged with assassination

Turner believes not all those involved in the July 2021 assassination at Jouvenel Moyes’ private residence have been arrested, and that Martine Moyes and her children, who were injured in the attack, are still alive. He said he felt his life was in danger.

“She categorically denies any involvement,” he said.

Mr Turner also accused Prime Minister Ariel Henry’s government of ordering the prosecution.

“What do they do? They indict people they think are opponents. There’s definitely a perception that she’s going to run or could run in the future,” Turner said. “Nothing else makes sense.”

He said he hasn’t discussed politics with his client and doesn’t know if she plans to run for office.

A spokesperson for the prime minister’s office did not respond to messages seeking comment.

The late President Jovenel Moïse sits with his wife Martine during the presidential swearing-in ceremony in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on February 7, 2017. (AP Photo/Due Nario Cherry, File)

Haiti has repeatedly postponed holding general elections as it battles a surge in gang violence and awaits the deployment of United Nations-backed Kenyan police, which has been delayed by legal proceedings in the East African country.

A 122-page report issued by a Haitian judge investigating the killing said Lionel Valbrun, former secretary-general of the National Palace, had left the presidency to Martine Moïse at the discretion of then-president. It is recorded that he told authorities that he had been under “strong pressure” to do so. Prime Minister Claude Joseph needed it to “organize a council of ministers.”

The report also said that two days before her husband was murdered, Martine Moise visited the National Palace and spent nearly five hours between 10pm and 3am picking up “many things”. He said it was being removed.

According to the report, Valbrun said that two days after the president’s murder, Martine Moïse called him and said: “Mr. Jouvenel has done nothing for us. You have to open your office. Mr. President. “The President has directed Mr. Ty Claude to establish a Council of Ministers. The President has instructed Mr. Ty Claude to establish a Council of Ministers.” He will hold an election in three months, so I can become president, and now we have power. ”

Ty Clod is believed to be a reference to Claude Joseph, who was also charged in the case. He denied the accusations and accused the current prime minister of “weaponizing” Haiti’s justice system.

Joseph and Martine Moïse are charged with conspiracy and criminal association, while the former Haitian national police chief and other suspects face more serious charges, including murder.

Emmanuel Gentil, Martine Moise’s Haiti-based lawyer, said in a letter to local judicial officials that if the judge’s report is genuine, due process was not followed. He told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

Turner added that federal authorities have charged 11 suspects in the case, and that Martine Moyes is expected to testify at an upcoming trial in the United States. At least three of them were sentenced.

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Meanwhile, more than 40 other suspects, including high-ranking Haitian police officials and 20 former Colombian military personnel, remain in prison in Haiti awaiting trial.

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