Prosecutors seek to interview Haiti PM over president killing

New Prime Minister Ariel Henry (center) talks to members of his cabinet after his appointment in Port-au-Prince, Haiti on July 20, 2021, weeks after the assassination of President Jovenel Moise at his home. (JOSEPH ODELYN / AP)

PORT-AU-PRINCE – Haiti's chief public prosecutor invited Prime Minister Ariel Henry on Friday to meet with him next week to explain why he spoke with one of the main suspects in the assassination of former President Jovenel Moise on the night of the crime.

A letter sent by prosecutor Bed-Ford Claude to Henry said only a president could authorize official summons to someone of his rank, but the country was without one. Instead, he was being "invited" to attend and cooperate.

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A letter sent by prosecutor Bed-Ford Claude to Prime Minister Ariel Henry said only a president could authorize official summons to someone of his rank, but the country was without one. Instead, he was being "invited" to attend and cooperate

The hearing at the Court of First Instance of Port-au-Prince would take place at 10 am on Tuesday, it said.

"The head of the criminal prosecution would be grateful if you could present yourself … to cooperate with Haitian justice if you so wish, taking into account the restrictions given your status as a senior state official," the letter said.

Henry did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

Moise was shot dead when assassins stormed his private residence in the hills above Port-au-Prince on July 7, plunging the impoverished Caribbean country deeper into turmoil.

Investigators say former Haitian justice ministry official Joseph Felix Badio may have ordered the assassination.

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Subpoenaed records from cellphone operator Digicel have now also enabled them to confirm accusations that Badio and Henry spoke on July 7, twice at around 4 am, just hours after Moise's killing, according to the letter sent on Friday.

Geolocalization data also show Badio was speaking from the scene of the crime, the letter said.