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Man pleads guilty in US probe of Haiti president assassination


Rodolphe Jaar is charged with conspiracy to assassinate or kidnap President Jovenal Moise and supporting the plot.

A dual Haitian and Chilean citizen has pleaded guilty to three charges related to a plot to assassinate former Haitian President Jovenel Moise, the first guilty plea in a 2021 US investigation into the assassination.

Rodolphe Jaar, 50, appeared in court on Friday to face criminal charges in Moise’s shooting, including conspiracy to commit murder or kidnapping and conspiracy to provide material support to carry out the murder plot. Moise was murdered in his home in July 2021.

Jaar is the first of 11 defendants in the US case to plead guilty. While each of the charges carries a life sentence, according to a plea deal, Jaar could potentially serve less than 30 years in prison for cooperating with federal authorities, according to the Miami Herald.

His sentencing is scheduled for June 3.

When Jaar was arrested in January 2022, U.S. Justice Department prosecutors alleged that he had participated in “a plot to kidnap or assassinate the Haitian president” along with a group consisting of “about 20 Colombian citizens and several dual Haitian-American citizens”.

That plot was initially intended to have Moise arrested at the airport in Port au Prince, Haiti’s capital, but evolved into a plan to kidnap or assassinate the president.

Prosecutors said Jaar was “responsible for supplying weapons to the Colombian co-conspirators to facilitate the execution of the operation”.

The “Colombian co-conspirators also stayed in a residence controlled by Jaar” and he provided assistance to those involved when they hid from Haitian authorities after the murder, prosecutors explained.

The Miami Herald reported that Jaar had previously collaborated with US investigators during a large-scale investigation into cocaine smuggling 10 years ago.

Moise’s murder threw Haiti into further political turmoil, encouraging local gangs who have since expanded their control to large parts of the island. Increased violence has exacerbated a humanitarian crisis caused by natural disasters and high poverty rates.

The US has continued to make arrests in the plot to kill Moise, as part of its ongoing investigation.

The most recent round came in February, when authorities arrested three people in Florida and charged them with “conspiracy to commit kidnapping or murder outside the United States causing death.” They were identified as Antonio “Tony” Intriago, Arcangel Pretel Ortiz and Walter Veintemilla.

A fourth suspect, Frederick Bergmann, was arrested and charged with conspiracy to smuggle ballistic vests for the former Colombian soldiers alleged to have committed the fatal shooting.

A key figure among those arrested is 64-year-old doctor Christian Emmanuel Sanon. Prosecutors describe him as “a Haitian-American citizen who harbored political ambitions in Haiti.”

They claim that the conspirators initially planned to replace Moise with Sanon but eventually changed their minds and shifted their support to a former Haitian Supreme Court judge. The conspirators had “apparently realized that Sanon had neither the constitutional qualifications nor the support of the Haitian people to run for president,” federal prosecutors said.

Sanon was charged with attempting to smuggle ballistic vests from the US to Haiti and faces up to 20 years in prison.

Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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