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haiti in crisis

Haitian prosecutor fired after asking judge to charge prime minister in president's assassination

Haitian prosecutor Bed-Ford Claude on Tuesday asked a judge to file charges against Prime Minister Ariel Henry in connection with the July 7 assassination of President Jovenel Moïse. Later in the day, Henry sent Claude a termination letter.

Claude requested that Henry, a 71-year-old neurosurgeon, be charged with assassination, conspiracy against the state, and armed robbery, and not be allowed to leave Haiti. In his indictment request, Claude said that shortly after Moïse was killed, Henry spoke on the phone twice with the main suspect in the assassination, former Justice Ministry official Joseph Badio. "There are enough compromised elements against the prime minister to indict him, pure and simple," Claude wrote. Badio, who was fired from Haiti's anti-corruption unit two months before the assassination, has been in hiding since July.

Haiti was in crisis ahead of Moïse's assassination, due to the coronavirus pandemic, inflation, and an increase in gang violence, and his shocking death and a catastrophic earthquake that followed have caused the country to spiral further. Henry has the backing of the United States and several European countries, but many Haitians have called for an independent caretaker government to take control ahead of elections.