Haiti: Prosecutor who asked judge to charge prime minister over president’s killing is sacked

Prime Minister Ariel Henry (centre) and interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph (right) in front of a portrait of slain Haitian President Jovenel Moise. Credit: AP

Haiti’s chief prosecutor has been sacked just hours after he asked a judge to charge Prime Minister Ariel Henry over the killing of the president and asked officials to bar him from leaving the country.

The order filed by Port-au-Prince prosecutor Bed-Ford Claude, who was fired by Mr Henry, came on the same day that he requested the PM should meet with him and explain why a key suspect in the assassination of president Jovenel Moise called him twice just hours after the killing.

“There are enough compromising elements… to prosecute Henry and ask for his outright indictment,” Mr Claude wrote in the order, before he was replaced by Frantz Louis Juste, a prosecutor who oversaw the case involving the deaths of more than a dozen children in a fire at an orphanage near Port-au-Prince last year. A spokesperson for Mr Henry could not be reached for comment.

Haiti's PM Ariel Henry was to be questioned over phone calls he received from a key suspect in the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse. Credit: AP

It wasn't clear if Mr 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 is also yet to be determined whether the former chief prosecutor was officially removed before he made the request to the judge. The Associated Press obtained a letter dated Monday in which the prime minister told Mr Claude that he was being fired for an undefined “serious administrative fault” and that the decision was effective as soon as he received the document.

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

Mr Claude said the calls in question were made at 4.03am and 4.20am on July 7, adding that evidence shows the suspect, Joseph Badio, was in the vicinity of Mr Moise’s home at that time.

Mr Badio once worked for Haiti’s ministry of justice and at the government’s anti-corruption unit until he was sacked in May amid accusations of violating unspecified ethical rules.

In the two-page document, Mr Claude said the calls lasted a total of seven minutes and that Mr Henry was at the Hotel Montana in Port-au-Prince at that time.

He also noted that a government official tweeted last month that Mr Henry told him he never spoke with Mr Badio.