Haiti’s chief prosecutor was sacked and replaced shortly after he sued the country’s prime minister for the murder of President Jovenel Moise, though a letter of dismissal claimed the decision was due to an “error administrative “.
Attorney General Bed-Ford Claude was fired on Tuesday, with a new replacement sworn in just hours after Claude asked a judge overseeing the Moise murder investigation to indict Prime Minister Ariel Henry for a role alleged in the murder.
Claude first raised the allegations last week, saying phone records proved Henry had contacted the prime suspect in Moise’s murder on two separate occasions on the night of his assassination. Henry had previously defended the suspect – Joseph Badio, a former Justice Department official – in public, but Badio has since been on the run and his current whereabouts are unknown.
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A termination letter obtained by Reuters and dated September 13 indicated that Claude had committed a “Serious administrative error” but gave no other reason for his dismissal. A separate letter dated the following day named Frantz Louis Juste as his replacement.
The legality of Claude’s dismissal is unclear, however, as the Haitian constitution states that only the president can appoint and dismiss the country’s chief prosecutor. The presidency remains vacant after Moise was murdered on July 7 by gunmen at his home near Port-au-Prince.
It also remains unclear whether Claude was officially removed from his post before his request to the judge to indict the prime minister, as the termination letter stated that his dismissal was effective as soon as he received the document, according to the report. Associated Press, which also obtained copies of the letters. It is not known when Claude actually received the letter.
Claude alleges that Henry had two phone calls with Badio between 4:03 am and 4:20 am on July 7 and that Badio was in a hotel near Moise’s home at the time of the calls. In addition to his request to indict Henry, Claude also wrote to Haiti’s immigration service, asking them to prohibit the Prime Minister from leaving the country. “Because of the serious presumption relating to the assassination of the president”. His dismissal became apparent just hours after these requests.
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