President’s security coordinator arrested in Haiti, Supreme Court justice wanted

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Haitian authorities Monday arrested the coordinator of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse’s security, the man’s lawyer, Reynold Georges, confirmed to the Miami Herald.

Georges said he doesn’t know on what basis his client, Haiti National Police Divisional Commissioner Jean Laguel Civil, had been arrested, and “perhaps they will tell me tomorrow.”

Civil, who doesn’t control any troops in the president’s multi-layered security detail but oversees those who do, is among the individuals Moïse contacted in the middle of the night on July 7 after he heard shooting in the vicinity of his private residence.

At the time of his arrest, Civil had already been placed in solitary confinement under orders from judicial authorities, along with others responsible for the president’s security.

Police carry the coffin of slain Haitian President Jovenel Moïse during his funeral at his family home in Cap-Haitien, Haiti, early Friday, July 23, 2021. Moïse was assassinated at his home in Port-au-Prince on July 7.
Police carry the coffin of slain Haitian President Jovenel Moïse during his funeral at his family home in Cap-Haitien, Haiti, early Friday, July 23, 2021. Moïse was assassinated at his home in Port-au-Prince on July 7.

Civil’s arrest came on the same day that Haitian authorities announced that they have issued an arrest warrant for a member of the country’s highest court in the ongoing investigation into who killed Moïse.

Police released a wanted poster with the image of Supreme Court Justice Windelle Coq Thélot seeking information about her whereabouts but not spelling out why she is wanted in connection with the probe. In an arrest order, Thélot is accused of assassination, attempted assassination and armed robbery.

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The accusations are largely the same as charges listed for several other Haitian nationals who are wanted in connection with the slaying of the president, and the government has presented little evidence to date to back up its arrest warrants.

Haitian government prosecutor Bedford Claude did not respond to a request for comment from the Miami Herald and the McClatchy Washington Bureau. The State Department, which sent a special envoy to Haiti over the weekend, also did not respond to a request for comment about the arrest warrant issued for the high-ranking member of Haiti’s judicial branch.

Thélot is the second high-court justice this year to be accused of involvement in a coup against Moïse, who was killed on July 7 in a middle-of-the night attack inside his private residence in the Pelerin 5 neighborhood of the capital.

Earlier this year, Supreme Court Justice Yvickel Dabrésil was accused of being part of an alleged plot to overthrow and kill Moïse after the judge and 17 other Haitians were arrested in the middle of the night while still in their pajamas.

Dabrésil denied the allegations and was eventually released on a technicality, given his status as a justice. He was later fired by Moïse after the president announced the forced retirement of Dabrésil and two other justices named by the opposition as potential presidential replacements, including Thélot.

The firing and the unconstitutional naming of three judicial replacements led to a rare rebuke of Moïse at the time by the Biden administration and members of the United Nations Security Council.

The arrest warrant for Thélot was made public on the same day that the country’s Superior Court of Auditors and Administrative Disputes was scheduled to hear an appeal in her firing by Moïse. Her whereabouts were not immediately known.

More than 20 people have been arrested including 18 Colombians and three Haitian nationals who lived in South Florida. But so far Haitian authorities have not said who bankrolled the assassination or what the motivation was behind the armed attack, which also left first lady Martine Moïse wounded.

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There are also numerous unanswered questions about the whereabouts of the presidential security detail at the time of the assassination and how all escaped injury in an attack that killed the head of state.

A protester demanding justice for the assassinated President Jovenel Moïse stands near a burning barricade in Cap-Haitien, Haiti, Thursday, July 22, 2021. Demonstrations after a memorial service for Moïse turned violent on Thursday afternoon with protesters shooting into the air, throwing rocks and overturning heavy concrete barricades next to the seashore as businesses closed and people took cover.

Two South Florida Haitian Americans are under arrest in Haiti, James Solages and Joseph G. Vincent, and it is unclear if they have legal counsel. They reportedly have said they were working as translators for Colombian commandos.

A Florida lender and a Doral-based security company owner were identified in Haiti as persons of interest in Haiti and are said to be cooperating with U.S. law enforcement agencies.