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Some of the people closest to Haiti's late prime minister are indicted in his murder


Some of the people closest to the late leader of Haiti, Jovenel Moise, are indicted in his murder. A judge who's responsible for investigating the 2021 assassination has accused dozens of people. They include Moise's widow, Martine Moise, the ex-prime minister Claude Joseph and the former chief of Haiti's national police. Widlore Merancourt is the editor in chief of AyiboPost. He also reports for The Washington Post, and he's on the line. Welcome to the program.


INSKEEP: What is the judge's narrative, the judge's story of this killing?

MERANCOURT: Well, the story that this report by the judge tells is a story of a president who was surrounded by multiple people who were vying to replace him. He did not use this word, but you can say traitors who seized the opportunity and organized his killing, and among these people, the head of the Haitian National Police at the time. And he was someone who, you know, he did the first moments of the investigation, Mr. Leon Charles, who actually is an ambassador for Haiti.

INSKEEP: Wait, that last part - did you say that one of the suspects here is a person who at one point was investigating the killing?

MERANCOURT: Yes, absolutely. Mr. Leon Charles was the top police in Haiti at that time, and he was in the vicinity of the house of the president when he was killed. And he was the one who oversaw the report of the judicial police that was sent to the Haitian justice system for further investigation. And this individual, Mr. Leon Charles, is a diplomat for Haiti.

INSKEEP: So we're talking about an inside job that seems to involve almost everybody on the inside, including the president's wife, who herself was supposedly injured in the attack at their homes. So how, according to the judge, can it be shown that she was part of the conspiracy?

MERANCOURT: Well, this is a report that, you know, people need to take, like people are saying online, with a grain of salt. We are talking about the fact that the judge did not find, you know, a way to follow the money, apparently. This brutal murder needed lots of financing. And we have the fact that many of the folks that are implicated in this murder allegedly choose not to speak with the judge because allegedly, they believe he was not an independent judge. So all these things, you know, raise many questions about the capacity of the judge to conduct an investigation that was independent.

INSKEEP: It is, of course, an indictment, which presumably would point toward a trial. Is there any chance of these charges being heard in a trial?

MERANCOURT: According to Haitian law, this report needs to be sent to the folks that are indicted. They have about 10 days to appeal, and the prosecutor can also appeal. And after this process plays out, we will have a trial. But, I mean, when you know what I know about the Haitian justice system, it's going to be a long process. It can take months and maybe years for this process to play out completely.

INSKEEP: Widlore Merancourt is editor in chief of AyiboPost in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Thanks for the update on what is known so far about these accusations.

MERANCOURT: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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