Six months have passed since Haiti was shaken by the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse and the investigations into the masterminds of the attack appear to have fallen into a muddle. The island is still mired in crime and began 2022 with another assassination attempt: Prime Minister Ariel Henry suffered a shooting attack – from which he was unharmed – as he was leaving a mass in the Cathedral of Gonaïves, 100 kilometers from Prince Port.
For the 19 Colombian ex-military men who were captured for their alleged participation in the murder of Möise, time is also stopped. This is confirmed by the relatives of the group of mercenaries who, according to the Haitian prosecutor’s office, were hired by the CTU Security company and entered the president’s mansion on July 7, where they killed him. “They are going to die in that jail. They are in poor health, malnourished, with diarrhea and tuberculosis, ”Nataly Andrade, wife of retired colonel Giovanny Guerrero, told EL PAÍS. Andrade traveled to the island to bring them clothes and food and complains that they still have no lawyers.
Of the original group of 22 ex-military personnel who traveled to Haiti, three were killed by the Haitian Police. Six months after the murder, their bodies have not yet been repatriated. “I traveled to do the recognition of my brother. But they still don’t tell us when they are going to deliver them, ”said Yenny Capador, a relative of Sergeant Duberney Capador, who allegedly led the group of mercenaries and ended up dead.
The case of ex-soldier Mario Palacios, who fled to Jamaica and was detained there, is also confusing. The Government of that country ordered his extradition to Colombia on Monday, but he was arrested while making a stopover in Panama. According to the Foundation for the Defense of the Public Force and their Families (Funderef), which provides legal advice to these ex-military personnel, it is required by the United States, the country of origin of CTU Security – the company that hired them and where the weapons came from. that they used.
The order not to send him to Haiti but to Bogotá came from the High Court of Jamaica, which has generated criticism in the country where the crime occurred due to the slowness of the investigation. “The Haitian government has not provided sufficient evidence to establish the mercenary’s involvement in the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse,” Claude Joseph, the island’s former prime minister, said on Twitter.
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Joseph assured that it was a “severe blow to the investigation” and that, despite having the collaboration of the Colombian authorities, “the current team has not carried out any follow-up.” “There is no political will to advance in the investigation of the murder of Jovenel Moïse,” denounced the Haitian politician. According The New York Times, the president of Haiti was assassinated for trying to send a list of people linked to drug trafficking to the United States.
In a letter sent to President Iván Duque, the families of the detainees asked that Palacios return to Colombia. “What is certain is that anything that professional soldier Mario Palacios can say freely, without risk of torture or death itself, can save our 18 soldiers in Haiti and can face the same torture as them. currently live those who are truly responsible for the death of Jovenel Moïse ”, said the relatives through the Foundation for the Defense of the Public Force and their Families (Funderef), which assumed the legal defense of the detainees in Colombia.
Funderef also denounced that the ex-military have been tortured and that they violate due process. “They have been detained for six months in subhuman conditions, where they have been forced to confess under torture and without the presence of even a public defender, who are second-year law students in Haiti,” wrote attorney Lorena Lázaro, from Funderef.
Lázaro insists that Colombians were used as “scapegoats or blind hooks.” “It is pertinent to clarify, they do not have lawyers who can defend them in Haiti, what you clearly know is illegal and not only that, but it is a violation of all human rights treaties and the right to due process,” he wrote in the missive.
The president’s cabinet responded that they would send the information to the Presidential Council for Human Rights. And in August 2021, Foreign Minister Martha Lucía Ramírez had said that her Vice Foreign Minister Francisco Echeverri would be in Haiti “to carry out the repatriation of the corpses of the deceased and legal assistance for the detainees.”
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.