Fri. Feb 23rd, 2024

Life in prison for a man involved in the assassination of the Haitian president

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Jovenel Moïse was 53 years old at the time of his assassination.

Agence France-Presse

A Haitian-American accused of having participated in the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse in 2021 was sentenced Friday in Florida to life imprisonment.

Joseph Vincent, 58, was on trial in federal court in Miami. Initially arrested in Haiti, he was extradited in January 2023 to the United States to answer for this assassination.

Jovenel Moïse was shot dead by an armed commando on the night of July 6 to 7, 2021 in his private residence in Port-au-Prince, without his bodyguards intervening. His death further aggravated the chaos in this small, poor Caribbean country.

American justice then launched proceedings against 11 people accused of being involved in this assassination on the grounds that the plot had been hatched in Florida.

Four of them were sentenced to life in prison, including Joseph Vincent, who pleaded guilty in December.

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Friday, he appeared in a prison suit. Addressing the audience, he said: Please forgive me for what I did.

According to the daily Miami Herald, the convict had in the past worked as an informer for the DEA, the American federal agency fighting drug trafficking.

The others Defendants sentenced to life imprisonment in this case are a former Haitian senator, Joseph Joel John, a businessman of Haitian and Chilean nationality, Rodolphe Jaar, and a retired Colombian soldier, German Rivera.

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In October, the United Nations Security Council gave the green light to the sending of a multinational force led by Kenya. (File photo)

Furthermore, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights indicated that the month of January was the most violent in more than two years in Haiti.

The High Commission says that at least 806 people were killed, injured or kidnapped in January and that some 300 gang members were also killed or injured, a total of 1,108 people, three times the number recorded in January 2023.

The already dire human rights situation has further deteriorated amid continued and escalating gang violence, with disastrous consequences for Haitians.

A quote from Volker Türk, High Commissioner for Human Rights

With each passing day, new victims are recorded. Today more than ever, the lives of Haitians depend on the deployment, without further delay, of the Multinational Security Support Mission in Haiti [MSS] to support the national police and to ensure the security of the Haitian population in conditions consistent with human rights norms and standards, he said.

Mr. Türk also insisted on the impacts of this new wave of violence on the Haitian economy and on the spread of food insecurity.

High inflation due to extortion and roadblocks has deprived millions of Haitians of basic products, he said in a statement.

More than 313,000 people have been forced to flee their homes. Many have sought refuge in overcrowded and unsanitary sites, affecting their ability to obtain health and education services, the UN statement said.

Even if the improvement of the security situation is a precondition for breaking the cycle of crises in Haiti, stability in The long term will only be achieved by addressing the root causes not only of poverty and social and economic discrimination, but also of corruption.

A quote from Volker Türk, High Commissioner for Human Rights

On top of endemic gang violence, these In recent days, violent clashes between the police and demonstrators demanding the departure of the head of government, Ariel Henry.

According to an agreement reached in December 2022 after the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse, the current prime minister was to organize elections and hand over power on February 7, 2024 to new elected officials.

No elections have taken place since 2016 in this small Caribbean country and the presidency remains vacant.

Between the 20th January and February 7, at least 16 people were killed and 29 others injured, mainly during clashes between demonstrators and police, says the UN.

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