A Haitian judge has indicted dozens of people over alleged involvement in the 2021 assassination of president Jovenel Moise, including his widow, a former prime minister and an ex-police chief, according to court documents seen by AFP.
Moise, 53, was gunned down in July 2021 at his private residence by a group of about 20 assailants, most of them Colombian mercenaries.
His security detail did not intervene to protect him.
Since his death, Haiti has only spiraled deeper into chaos. No election has been held and Moise has not been succeeded as president.
An order believed to be from the judge investigating the assassination was leaked to media including AFP.
In it, the magistrate ordered the referral of Moise’s widow, Martine Moise, and 50 other people to the criminal court “to be judged on the facts of criminal conspiracy, armed robbery, terrorism, assassination and complicity in assassination”.
The document goes on to say that “indications of the involvement of the ex-first lady ... are sufficient” to indict, adding that her statements were “so tainted by contradictions that they leave something to be desired and discredit her”.
Martine Moise was also wounded in the deadly attack.
The 122-page report includes some of her graphic testimony, recounting how, as she was “losing a lot of blood” and left for dead on the floor of the couple’s bedroom, she whispered to her husband that she would try to get medical aid, only to realise that he was already dead.
It listed some of the issues it said the judge had with her testimony, including her claim that at one point she tried to hide beneath the couple’s bed.
The report claimed that “as this piece of furniture is made, not even a giant rat ... measuring between 35cm-45cm can get under it to hide”.
Former interim prime minister Claude Joseph and ex-director-general of the national police Leon Charles were also found to have “sufficient indications” of involvement in the killing, the document says.
The report did not clearly identify the masterminds of the assassination, nor who may have financed the killing. None of the people named in the indictment immediately reacted publicly.
Martine Moise has however criticised on social media what she calls unjust arrests and political persecutions.
Joseph meanwhile told the Miami Herald that the president’s de-facto successor, Prime Minister Ariel Henry, was the main beneficiary and was now “weaponising the Haitian justice system” to persecute opponents in “a classic coup d’etat”.
A spokesperson for Henry’s office said the judge was independent and “free to issue his order in accordance with the law and his conscience”.
Henry was appointed to replace Joseph, who now leads an opposition party, days before the assassination.