The political situation in Haiti has gotten worse when Prime Minister Ariel Henry fired the top public prosecutor on Tuesday, accusing him of involvement in the killing of President Jovenel Moise on July 7.
Prosecutor Bed-Ford of Port-au-Prince submitted the request. The prosecutor had summoned the prime minister to appear at a meeting and explain why he spoke twice with a major suspect in the assassination of President Jovenel Mose just hours after the killing. Claude, who had been fired by Henry, arrived on the same day.
It wasn't clear if Claude had been legally removed before he approached the judge with his request, as per ABC News. The Associated Press acquired a letter from Henry on Monday in which he informed Claude that he was being fired for an unspecified "severe unfortunate mistake," and that the decision was effective immediately after he received the document.
Haiti presidency remains vacant
The legitimacy of Claude's dismissal is debatable, given Haiti's constitution stipulates that the country's chief prosecutor can only be appointed and dismissed by the president. Per RT, following Moise's assassination by gunmen at his house in Port-au-Prince on July 7, the presidency remains vacant.
The termination letter stated that his dismissal was effective as soon as he received the file. It's also unclear when Claude received the letter. Claude claims that between 4:03 and 4:20 a.m. on July 7, Henry had two phone calls with Badio and that Badio was at a hotel near Moise's home at the time.
In addition to his plea to prosecute Henry, Claude wrote to Haiti's immigration office, requesting that the PM be barred from leaving the country because of severe suspicion relevant to the president's killing. Only a few hours after those requests, he was fired.
Some legal experts were alarmed by Claude's requests that Henry is interrogated and charged, seeing the prosecutor's request as a threat to the judiciary's independence. In recent days, some in Haiti government circles have called for the prime minister to resign over the allegations.
Haiti's development has been hampered by decades of political instability and natural disasters. Its aid-dependent economy is the poorest in the Americas, more than a third of Haitians are vulnerable to food insecurity, and gangs have turned large sections of the capital into no-go zones.
Political forces agree to form a transitional government
So far, 44 people have been arrested in connection with the assassination investigation, including 18 Colombians and two Americans of Haitian descent. In the attack, none of the president's security guards were hurt, as per Al Jazeera English via MSN.
On the same day, Haiti's main political forces announced that they had reached an agreement to form a transitional government until presidential elections and a referendum on whether to adopt a new constitution are held next year. Under Henry's leadership, the agreement establishes a Council of Ministers.
Justice Minister Rockfeller Vincent has ordered Haiti's National Police chief to enhance security for Claude as he had received threats in the past five days. An adviser for the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti, Brian Concannon, said he is not expecting to change despite the prosecutor having been newly appointed.
Concannon added that Judge Garry Orélien is in charge of the assassination case and the decision whether to pursue an investigation is in the hands even if the new prosecutor said so.
Haitian politics expert Robert Fatton said there is a clear dispute in power within the government and those who support Moïse. Despite court clerks hiding after receiving death threats if they won't change statements and names in their reports, the investigation continues.