Thursday, April 18, 2024

Moise murder accused appears in Miami court


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MIAMI – A former Haitian senator charged with the July 7 assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moise last year, Monday said he trusts the American justice system.

John Jöel Joseph, who was extradited from Jamaica last weekend, told the presiding judge Lauren Louis that he had not been employed over the past year.

“I’m in a very difficult situation, I was in jail,” he told the judge, while his attorney, Brian Kirlew, who is representing Joseph because of his lack of money and other assets, said his client agreed not to seek a bond after federal prosecutor Andrea Goldbarg had indicated that she was going to ask the judge to detain Joseph before trial based on two factors: risk of flight and danger to the community.

Joseph has been charged with the same offenses as two previous defendants who were brought to Miami earlier this year in connection with the July 7 assassination of Moise at his private residence overlooking the capital Port au prince.

Since then several people, including former members of the Colombia army, have been detained in connection with the murder.

Moise’s wife, Martine, who was injured during the attack that claimed the life of her husband, 9in a message over the weekend noted that it had been 10 months since the assassination that have left “us with the same bitter taste as on the first day.

“Worse, the judicial authorities no longer pretend to act. The country is sinking further, forcing its defenceless sons to live as nomads because of the violence,” she said, adding that 10 months after his assassination “a people is still in tears”.

Apart from Joseph, the other two people charged in the United States are Mario Antonio Palacios, a former Colombian soldier, and Rodolphe Jaar, a Haitian businessman and convicted cocaine trafficker.

They are all accused of conspiring to commit murder or kidnapping outside the United States and providing material support resulting in Moïse’s death.

Palacios has pleaded not guilty, while Jaar is believed to be cooperating with US authorities. All three defendants in assassination plot are being held at the Federal Detention Center in Miami. They face up to life in prison.

Joseph had fled to Jamaica with his wife and children and was charged with illegally entering the Caribbean island by boat in January.

His Jamaica attorney, Donahue Martin, told the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court last month that the application for refugee status for John’s wife, Edume and their two sons was denied by the Ministry of Justice. He said he will be appealing the decision.

In February, Martin made an application for refugee status to the Passport Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA) for Edume and their two sons, arguing that the family fled Haiti and entered Jamaica illegally over fear of being killed by angry citizens in Haiti who believe they were involved in Moïse’s murder.

Senior Parish Judge at the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court, Justice Lori-Ann Cole-Montague said the move by the prosecution meant that “it clears ways for arrangements to be made for you (Joseph) to be extradited to the United States”. (CMC)


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