Toronto Star

Top Haitian prosecutor seeking to charge PM in killing is replaced


PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI—A new chief prosecutor was sworn in Tuesday just hours after his predecesso­r asked a judge to charge Prime Minister Ariel Henry in the slaying of the president and to bar him from leaving Haiti, a move that could further destabiliz­e a country roiled by turmoil following the assassinat­ion and a recent major earthquake.

The request filed by Port-auPrince prosecutor Bed-Ford Claude, who was fired by Henry, came on the same day that the prosecutor had asked that the prime minister come to a meeting and explain why he spoke twice with a key suspect in the assassinat­ion of President Jovenel Moïse just hours after the killing.

“There are enough compromisi­ng elements … to prosecute Henry and ask for his outright indictment,” Claude wrote before he was replaced by Frantz Louis Juste, who oversaw the case involving the deaths of more than a dozen children in a fire at an orphanage near Portau-Prince last year.

A spokespers­on for Henry could not be reached for comment.

It wasn’t clear if Claude’s removal would have any impact on the case, but an analyst noted that the investigat­ion is in the hands of a judge.

It wasn’t clear if Claude was officially removed before he made the request to the judge. The Associated Press obtained a letter dated Monday in which Henry told Claude he was being fired for an undefined “serious administra­tive fault” and the decision was effective as soon as he received the document.

Claude did not respond to a request for comment on his firing or the letter.

On Monday, Justice Minister Rockfeller Vincent ordered the chief of Haiti’s National Police to boost security for Claude because Claude had received “important and disturbing” threats in the past five days.

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