People attend a vigil in honor of Haiti's slain president Jovenel Moise, in the Little Haiti neighborhood of Miami, Florida, on July 16, 2021 (Photo: AFP/File/Giorgio Viera)
MIAMI: A former Colombian soldier charged in the United States with participating in the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moise pleaded not guilty Friday (Feb 4), his lawyer in Miami said.
Accused by the US courts of having participated in the “conspiracy to kidnap or assassinate” Moise, Mario Palacios “will plead not guilty,” said lawyer Alfredo Izaguirre as he left the Miami courthouse where the case is being tried.
Moise was shot dead on the night of July 6 to 7, 2021 in his private residence in Port-au-Prince. A hit squad of Colombian mercenaries is suspected of having carried out the slaying.
Mario Palacios is accused of being one of five armed men who entered the room where the late president was killed.
Arrested in October in Jamaica, he could not be extradited to Haiti due a lack of evidence provided by the authorities in Port-au-Prince.
He was then arrested again on Jan 3 in Panama, during a stopover on a flight from Jamaica, and extradited to the United States.
US law is being applied in this case because the plan to kill the Haitian president was allegedly partly organised on US soil in Florida, by American-Haitian nationals.
Palacios faces life imprisonment. Another suspect was charged by the US Justice Department on January 20 – Haitian-Chilean national Rodolphe Jaar, 49, is also accused of complicity in the murder.
He admitted in a December interview with US police to having provided the hit squad with weapons and ammunition.
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