Home » US imposes life sentence on former DEA informant for assassination of Haitian president

US imposes life sentence on former DEA informant for assassination of Haitian president

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US imposes life sentence on former DEA informant for assassination of Haitian president

The US justice system this Friday sentenced Joseph Vincent to life imprisonment, accused of conspiring to assassinate Haitian President Jovenel Moïse, on July 7, 2021 in Port-au-Prince.

Vincent, a 58-year-old Haitian-American, appeared in federal court in Miami, Florida, two months after pleading guilty to participating in the assassination.

In a signed statement, the defendant admitted in December that he had met with other conspirators from February 2021 until the day of the murder.

In the early hours of July 7, he accompanied other defendants to Moïse’s private residence, where a commando of Colombian mercenaries shot the president dead without his bodyguards intervening.

His work in the conspiracy consisted of advising his accomplices about the Haitian political landscape, attending meetings with political and community leaders in the country, and participating in a plan to encourage protests against Moïse and use them as cover to overthrow him.

(FILES) In this file photo taken on October 22, 2019 President Jovenel Moise sits at the Presidential Palace during an interview with AFP in Port-au-Prince, October 22, 2019. – Haitian President Jovenel Moise was assassinated on July 7, 2021, at his home by a commando, interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph announced. Joseph said he was now in charge of the country. (Photo by Valerie Baeriswyl / AFP)

He often wore a US State Department pin, which made it seem like he worked for Washington.

Vincent, a former informant for the US Anti-Drug Agency (DEA), according to media such as the Miami Herald, promised to collaborate with the Prosecutor’s Office.

Dressed in a beige prisoner’s uniform, he entered the courtroom in shackles, barely walking with a cane. Before hearing his sentence, he addressed those present. “Please forgive me for what I did,” he said in Haitian Creole.

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The US justice system claimed jurisdiction over this case, in which it has charged 11 people, because part of the plot was hatched in Florida.

Four people have been sentenced to life in prison: Vincent; former Haitian senator Joseph Joel John; Rodolphe Jaar, a Haitian-Chilean businessman; and Germán Rivera, a retired Colombian army officer.

According to the Prosecutor’s Office, the conspirators wanted to kidnap Moïse and replace him with Christian Sanon, a Haitian-American citizen. But, failing to kidnap the president, they decided to kill him.

Haiti has arrested 17 people for the murder of the 53-year-old president, according to the Miami Herald, but none of them have been formally charged.

The small country, considered the poorest in America, has plunged into violent chaos since the assassination and its presidency remains vacant. In 2023 he suffered nearly 5,000 homicides, and January 2024 was the “most violent month for more than two years,” according to the UN.

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