ariel henry haiti
Prime Minister Ariel Henry speaks during a ceremony at La Primature in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on July 20. (Valerie Baeriswyl / AFP - Getty Images)

PORT-AU-PRINCE — A mastermind of the assassination of Jovenel Moise asked Prime Minister Ariel Henry to help him escape from the police and the two shared a safe house days after the murder, an arrested suspect told The New York Times.

Rodolphe Jaar, who was arrested Jan. 7 in the Dominican Republic, talked to the New York Times while he was on the run. Jaar said when Joseph Badio, the prime suspect on the loose, asked Henry to help him escape, Henry said “he would make some calls.”

Henry has yet to comment on the unconfirmed allegation. However, several officials and residents are already pointing fingers at the prime minister. 

“Ariel Henry’s involvement in the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse is becoming more and more precise,” former Minister of Foreign Affairs Claude Joseph tweeted. “He must put himself at the disposal of the justice system in order to facilitate the continuation of the investigation into the assassination of July 7. The country wants explanations.”

Jaar, a convicted drug trafficker and former DEA informant, also confessed that he partially financed and planned the plot to overthrow Moïse, according to the report. The home invasion at the president’s Pèlerin 5 neighborhood unexpectedly turned into an assassination.

Jaar said he joined the group because he hated the fact that Moïse was a dictator and he wanted to obtain special privileges for his businesses from the government. 

To add to Jaar’s account, two Haitian officials familiar with the investigation also told The New Times that Badio went to Henry’s home twice at night and the security guards didn’t make an attempt to arrest him.

Henry has been linked to the assassination since September after Bedford Claude, Port-au-Prince’s former chief prosecutor, said Henry talked on the phone twice with Badio hours after the assassination. Claude invited Henry to an interrogation, but Henry fired him.

The Prime Minister’s Office later wrote in a Sept. 16 statement that phone conversations can’t be “used to incriminate anyone.”

Jaar said Badio told him that Henry was supposed to be an useful ally after the coup d’état, which rather turned into an assassination.

Jaar also accused a new official of knowing about the plot, Haiti’s National Police General Director Frantz Elbé. Jaar said Elbé was tasked with providing weapons but said he didn’t have any. Elbé was appointed as police chief in October.

Elbé has yet to comment on the accusation.

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Onz Chery is a Haiti correspondent for The Haitian Times. Chery started his journalism career as a City College of New York student with The Campus. He later wrote for First Touch, local soccer leagues in New York and Elite Sports New York before joining The Haitian Times in 2019.

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