Crime & Justice

Haitian presidential security officials fail to testify in court

By Maria Montecelos

Port-au-Prince, Jul 13 (EFE).- Two of the police chiefs responsible for Haitian presidential security failed to appear Tuesday before a court in Port-au-Prince to testify over their alleged connection with the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse.

Prosecutor Bed-Ford Claude, who is handling the assassination case, confirmed to Efe that neither the main inspector, Amazan Paul Eddy, nor Commissioner Jean Laguel, general coordinator of presidential security, appeared at the courthouse premises.

The inspector-general of the police did not respond to the request of the Prosecutor’s Office to issue the permits that the members of the body need in order to testify, Claude said.

The summons of those responsible for the protection of Moïse aims to clarify the events that occurred on the night of the attack, in which no member of the president’s security detail was injured, according to the information released to date.

Tuesday was to be the second day of statements over the president’s murder, which according to the official version, is attributed to 28 “mercenaries” who shot Moise along with his wife, Martine, who is recovering in a Miami hospital.

In the first court session, held Monday, former senators Youri Latortue and Steven Benoît, known opponents of the president, denied any knowledge of or any connection to the event.

In the midst of the crisis, gas stations in Port-au-Prince saw long queues of citizens needing fuel for their vehicles and domestic electricity generators, among a growing shortage of supplies.

On the other side of the border, the Dominican Republic, the leading exporter of food to Haiti, announced that for “humanitarian reasons” it was resuming exports after it closed its borders as a result of the assassination.

The measure seeks to reduce the possibility that the shortage in Haiti will generate social instability and migration across the Dominican border.

From outside the country there has also been a push for elections to be held in Haiti before the end of the year, with a view to guaranteeing stability in the Caribbean nation, wracked by a political, economic and security crisis.

Canada on Tuesday conveyed to Acting Prime Minister Claude Joseph the need to initiate “dialogue with all parties to develop a credible plan for the Haitian government to hold elections by the end of the year.”

The Moïse government planned to hold them in September, coinciding with a referendum to approve a new constitution, an endeavor that never gained the approval of the opposition.

The United States has already urged “constructive dialogue” in Haiti to achieve “free and fair elections” this year, and to overcome the crisis triggered by the assassination of the president.

It sent a delegation that met with Joseph, as well as with Prime Minister-Designate Ariel Henry and Senate President Joseph Lambert, who are all vying for power after the assassination. EFE


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