haiti president
Police stand near a mural featuring Haitian President Jovenel Moise, near the leader’s residence where he was killed by gunmen in the early morning hours of July 7, 2021. (AP Photo/Joseph Odelyn)

KINGSTON, Jamaica — Mario Antonio Palacios, a suspect in the assassination of Jovenel Moïse, asked authorities to go to the United States during a layover stop in Panama Dec. 3, according to Reuters news service. Palacios was being deported from Jamaica to Colombia.

It is not clear if authorities granted his request.

Palacios, a Colombian national, had reportedly fled to the Dominican Republic after the assassination of Haiti’s president, then to Jamaica. 

Haiti filed a request twice asking Jamaica to extradite Palacios, but was denied. A second request included an arrest warrant for attempted armed robbery, Jamaica’s Director of Public Prosecutions Paula Llewellyn said in court, according to local news outlet Jamaica Gleaner. However, Llewellyn acknowledged, the filing had several legal shortcomings.

“The Haitian government didn’t provide enough proof of the mercenary’s [Palacios] involvement in President Jovenel Moïse’s assassination,” former Minister of Foreign Affairs Claude Joseph tweeted. “It’s a heavy blow to the investigation.”

Joseph added that during his time in office, Colombia was willing to cooperate with Haiti, but the new government failed to follow up on the work that was started. Prime Minister Ariel Henry formed a new government last November, appointing Jean Victor Jeneus as the new minister of foreign affairs.

“There is no political will to advance the investigation into the assassination of Jovenel Moïse,” Joseph said.

Although Haiti failed to provide evidence againt Palacios, another suspect who was also arrested placed Palacios at the Moïse family’s property in Pelerin 5, Port-au-Prince during the assassination. A team of 26 South American mercenaries, mainly Colombians, are accused of assassinating the president on July 7, and more than a dozen have been arrested.

Samir Handal, a Haitian-Palestinian buisnessman, is the latest suspect arrested. He has been under temporary custody in Turkey since November, according to the Associated Press.

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