Assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse: New Suspect Sentenced to Life in Prison in the United States

Former Haitian Senator John Joël Joseph was sentenced to life in prison on Tuesday (December 19th) in the United States for his role in the assassination of former President Jovenel Moïse. He is the third suspect to be tried in the United States. The man had pleaded guilty and promised to cooperate in obtaining a more lenient sentence, to no avail.

Image of Haitian President Jovenel Moise during a tribute ceremony in Port-au-Prince on July 20, 2021. © AFP - VALERIE BAERISWYL

By: RFI Follow


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John Joël Joseph was very demonstrative during Tuesday's hearing before Florida federal judge Jose Martinez. With tears in his eyes, he swore he had never been part of a plan to assassinate Haitian President Jovenel Moïse.

Yet, in the statement of facts so far, he admitted to having attended preparatory meetings whose purpose was to conspire to kill the former head of state. It is difficult to know the reasons for this change of line. For federal judge José Martinez, the former senator has in any case ventured into dangerous territory.

The Abduction Thesis

In the meantime, John Joël Joseph is not the only one to raise the theory of kidnapping alone. Another high-profile suspect, this time in Haiti — according to evidence gathered by the Florida newspaper The Miami Herald — Joseph Felix Badio, told Haitian Judge Walther Wesser Voltaire that the goal was to kidnap the former president, not kill him.

For John Joël Joseph's lawyer, his cooperation with the US authorities should have spared his client such a heavy sentence. But sentence adjustments will still be possible later, Judge Martinez hinted.

Read alsoHaiti: arrest of Joseph Félix Badio, key suspect in the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse

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Read on the same topics:

  • Haiti
  • Jovenel Moïse
  • Criminality