PORT-AU-PRINCE — A judge who once led the investigation into the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse reportedly said that interim Prime Minister Ariel Henry helped coordinate the assassination, according to voice recordings released by Ayibopost. Judge Garry Orélien later told Haitian media that the release of the recordings would endanger his life.
The voice recording took place between Orélien and another official sometime between October and November 2021, Ayibopost said. In it, Orélien is heard saying: “Ariel is friends with a mastermind, initiator of the assassination and he planned it with him on the day of the assassination. Ariel was in close communication with Laguel Civil, another initiator and accomplice.”
Civil was the coordinator of the Presidential Security Unit (USP) when Moïse was assassinated Jul. 7, 2021. Civil has been arrested and made an initial court appearance in front of Orélien Sept. 3.
Henry has been linked to the murder since September. He allegedly talked on the phone twice with Joseph Badio, a suspect on the run, on the day of the assassination. Consequently, Bedford Claude, former Port-au-Prince’s chief prosecutor, sent an interview request to Henry as part of the ongoing investigation into the slaying, but Henry fired him.
However, no formal charges had been filed by prosecutors nor public statements made about Henry’s alleged role while the investigation was underway.
CNN first wrote about the recorded conversations being available in a Feb. 8 article, then Ayibopost released the recordings. After the news broke, Orélien said in an interview with Radio Télévision Caraïbes that CNN freelance reporter Etant Dupain first told him about the recordings when he called for an interview to speak about the investigation. Dupain, he said, told him that someone recorded Orelien without him knowing it.
In that conversation with Dupain, Orélien said, the reporter said he would use the recordings in an article within 24 hours.
“I told him he was trying to get me killed, trying to make me go into exile,” Orélien told Radio Caraibes.
Orélien stepped down from the investigation Jan. 21 due to corruption allegations. In the alleged recorded conversation, Orélien said he couldn’t throw Henry into the investigation.
“Ariel is one of the people who went all the way into killing Jovenel — all the way,” Orélien said. “He knows it. Can I get him now? What can I do?”
Henry has yet to speak on the alleged recorded phone conversation.