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Haiti: Beleaguered PM Ariel Henry sacks justice minister

September 16, 2021

Prime Minister Ariel Henry has sacked his justice minister, one day after sacking the chief prosecutor. Henry has been accused of having connections to the killing of President Jovenel Moise.

Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry
Haiti's chief prosecutor, before he was dismissed, asked a judge to investigate Prime Minister Ariel Henry's connection to a key suspect in the presidential murder caseImage: Matias Delacroix/AP/picture alliance

Haiti's Prime Minister Ariel Henry dismissed Justice Minister Rockfeller Vincent on Wednesday, just a day after firing the public prosecutor who was seeking charges against Henry over a possible connection to the killing of President Jovenel Moise in July.

Another top official stepped down on Wednesday citing the allegations against the prime minister. Renald Luberice, secretary-general of Haiti's Council of Members, said he would not continue under the direction of someone who "does not intend to cooperate with justice, seeking, on the contrary, by all means, to obstruct it."

The recently fired Port-au-Prince chief prosecutor Bed-Ford Claude asked Henry to explain why he had had two phone conversations with a key suspect in Moise's murder just hours after the incident.

PM refuses questioning over president's murder

The Caribbean island nation is suffering from increasing political instability while also reeling from an earthquake that killed some 2,200 people.

Henry, who had been appointed by President Moise shortly before his death, was only recently inaugurated. While he had some international backing, several politicians have begun to publicly pull away from him.

The prime minister denied any involvement with the killing of Moise, but has refused to agree to an interview and has not released any comments on his alleged phone conversations with a key suspect.

That suspect, Joseph Badio, is on the run after being fired from the government's anti-corruption unit in May. Police are also seeking him on murder charges.

Beset by political challenges

Moise picked Henry as prime minister as a means of easing the political tensions that plagued his time in office. Before the president's death, Haiti was already facing the possibility of a major constitutional crisis.

Moise had been running the country by decree after failed elections two years ago.

Senate President Joseph Lambert made a second attempt to claim the presidency on Tuesday, calling on the media to report on his swearing-in at parliament. The proceedings were interrupted, however, by gunfire.

Henry is attempting to bring together different groups into a broad consensus so that he can govern.

ab/msh (AP, Reuters)