Four key suspects in the July 7, 2021 assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moise were transferred from Haiti to the United States on Tuesday to face criminal charges, the US Justice Department has announced.
A total of seven suspects in the case are now in US custody. Dozens of others still languish in Haiti’s main penitentiary, which is severely overcrowded and often lacks food and water for inmates.
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The department on Tuesday said Haitian-American dual citizens James Solages, 37 and Joseph Vincent, 57, and Colombian citizen German Alejandro Rivera Garcia, 44, have been charged with conspiring to commit murder or kidnapping outside the United States.
A fourth man, Haitian American Christian Sanon, 54, is charged with smuggling ballistic vests from the United States to Haiti for use in the assassination plot.
The four will appear in federal court in Miami on Wednesday.
The US Justice Department has already charged three others in the assassination, with Sanon, who the department called an “aspiring political candidate,” a key leader of the operation.
It said Sanon recruited about 20 Colombians with military training, led by Rivera Garcia, to help carry out the assassination.
The Colombian squad shot Moise dead on the night of July 6 to 7, 2021 in his private residence in the capital, Port-au-Prince.
“On July 6, 2021, Solages, Vincent, Rivera and others met at a house near President Moise’s residence, where firearms and equipment were distributed and Solages announced that the mission was to kill President Moise,” the department alleged.
US law is being applied in this case because the plan to kill the Haitian president was allegedly partly organised on US soil in Florida, by American-Haitian nationals.
The three charged with the assassination face up to life in prison. Sanon faces up to 20 years for his role in supplying the operation.
Meanwhile, the case has reached a virtual standstill in Haiti, with local officials last year nominating a fifth judge to investigate the killing after four others were dismissed or resigned for personal reasons.
One judge told the AP news agency his family asked him not to take the case because they feared for his life. Another judge stepped down after one of his assistants died in murky circumstances.