The United States will prosecute four implicated in the assassination of the president of Haiti | International

Four key detainees in the assassination of Jovenel Moïse have been transferred to the United States. The Department of Justice has reported this Tuesday that the men, linked to the assassination of the president committed on July 7, 2021, have been transferred to be prosecuted in courts of the Southern District of Florida. The four involved will appear this Wednesday afternoon for the first time before an American judge. Washington already has a total of seven suspects in custody for the homicide that further deepened the violent and democratic crisis that the Caribbean country was experiencing, which has been unable to advance the judicial processes of the alleged perpetrators at the local level.

The detainees who have arrived this week in US territory are James Solages, 37, and Joseph Vincent, 57, who have dual citizenship from Haiti and the United States; Colombian Germán Alejandro Rivera García, 44, and Christian Sanon, 54. The first three will face charges for organizing to commit a murder or kidnapping. They could be sentenced to life in prison if found guilty. Sanon is a religious pastor, doctor, and businessman. He has been considered a key in the plot that led to Moïse’s death, he faces charges of smuggling goods. He faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. The judicial process was to begin in March, but the lawyers consider that the start will be postponed, since the seven must be prosecuted at the same time.

The investigation ensures that Sanon imported 20 bulletproof vests for his militia into Haiti from Florida. These arrived on the island marked as medical X-ray clothing and other school supplies. The Department of Justice claims that this character, who had some social support, met with James Solages in South Florida in April 2021 to orchestrate a coup aimed at regime change. “After that meeting, a list of equipment and weapons necessary for the operation was shared with Solages, who in turn shared it with Sanon,” Washington said in a statement. That list included rifles, submachine guns, tear gas canisters, hand grenades, ammunition and bulletproof vests, which were exported without proper paperwork (this will be one of the charges that Solages will have to face in court).

One month after that meeting, in May 2021, Sanon began purchasing all the items on the list. These would be necessary to arm a private militia made up mainly of about 20 Colombians with military training. Rivera García was the head of this group of mercenaries under the command of Sanon, who was politically motivated and intended to inherit power after deposing Moïse. In total, there are 18 Colombian citizens accused of the assassination, who are waiting in jail for the murder trial to take place.

Two months before Moïse was murdered, Jospeh Vincent sent a message to Solages about a cat reacting in fear to a shooting. This caused laughter to who has been considered one of the masterminds of the assassination. “That is the reaction that Jovenel will have if you go ahead,” the detainee wrote to Solages, according to the court document. The pastor replied: “The cat will not return… And believe me, brother, we are making the final decision.”

At the beginning of June, the conspiracy suffered a nuance, according to Justice. Solages, Vinvent and Rivera reached out to discuss arresting the 53-year-old president and getting him out of the country to an undisclosed location. But the conspirators failed to get an airship, so the plan was changed again. One day before the murder, the suspects met in a house near the presidential residence. The weapons and equipment with which the coup was perpetrated were distributed in that building.

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Knowing what was going to happen, Solages took it upon himself to disseminate the version that the CIA was preparing an operation aimed at deposing Moïse. Minutes before the murder, the defendant shouted that it was actually a DEA maneuver, Washington’s anti-narcotics agency.

The FBI, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Miami office of the United States Department of Homeland Security were the two institutions in charge of carrying out the investigation that strengthened the accusation of the characters involved. The investigations made it possible for the Haitian authorities to arrest those involved, who were captured in Haiti and who later gave interviews to US agents, recounting their versions. In addition to those mentioned, the US has in its possession Rodolphe Jaar, a former Washington informant who was extradited from the Dominican Republic, former Senator John Joël Joseph and Mario Antonio Palacios, another of the Colombian militiamen.

Very little has happened since then. The case has been progressing slowly since the Port-au-Prince judicial authorities appointed a judge in 2022, the fifth, to hear the case. The previous four were fired or recused for personal reasons. Some judges have received death threats so that they do not take the reins of a trial that is very far from reaching justice.

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