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Ex-rebel leader known as ‘the torturer’ arrested in Haitian … – News8000.com – WKBT

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A former rebel known as “the torturer,” who has a history of armed insurgency against Haitian leaders, has been arrested in the slaying of President Jovenel Moïse, multiple informed sources told the Miami Herald.
Riccardo Savi, Getty Images

Haitian President Jovenel Moise
Miradieu Faustin, also an ex-soldier in the Haitian army, was arrested earlier this month along with Divisional Police Inspector Emmanuel Louis, for their alleged involvement in the planning that led to Moïse’s violent death inside a bedroom in his private home on July 7, 2021, in the hills above Port-au-Prince.
The arrests are the first major development in the Haiti case since an initial 44 individuals were taken into custody in the days after the killing. Although the motive for Moïse’s killing remains a mystery, the arrests of the two men and their connections to at least two other key suspects and a powerful gang leader increasingly demonstrate a connection between the killing and Haiti’s armed gangs. Those same gangs reportedly attacked some of the alleged gunmen after the killing.
Among the suspects who remain imprisoned in Haiti, where they still have not been formally charged after 17 months, are a Haitian-American physician and pastor from South Florida accused of masterminding the plot, 18 Colombian nationals and several members of Moïse’s presidential security detail.
A Haitian National Police source told the Herald that investigators are “actively” seeking 11 additional police officers in connection with the murder and that warrants have been issued.
The arrests of Faustin (also known as Faustin Miradieu and Faustin Mesadieu) and Louis are part of the ongoing inquiry by investigative judge Walther Wesser Voltaire. Appointed in May, Voltaire is the fifth judge assigned to the Haitian inquiry, which has been stymied by a high turnover of judges.
OJ
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Posters of slain Haitian President Jovenel Moise that reads “National Hero” cover a wall.
July 7, 2021: Haitian President Jovenel Moïse is assassinated by gunmen who also wound his wife Martine in an overnight raid on their Port-au-Prince home. More than 40 people have been arrested in Haiti for the attack, including high-ranking police officers and a group of former Colombian soldiers.
Both men have been in custody for several days, and police are questioning them to better understand their alleged roles and connections to the others linked to the killing. One suspect, Marie Jude Gilbert Dragon, was a former Haitian police commissioner and rebel leader who played a key role in a 2004 presidential coup that also involved Faustin. Dragon died last year of COVID-related illness.
Faustin has been on the Haitian political scene since Gen. Prosper Avril took power in Haiti in a 1988 military coup following the departure of dictator Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier two years earlier.
Under the army general-turned-president, Faustin would rise in rank and power as Avril’s security chief, and be among those accused of torturing democracy activists. In recent years, Faustin was head of security for a commercial enterprise and also an agent in the Protected Areas Surveillance Brigade, or BSAP, an environmental corps accused of operating as a militia.
Louis, meanwhile, was assigned to the police station in Port-au-Prince’s Delmas neighborhood. The source said a search of Louis’ home revealed three weapons permits belonging to former Sen. John Joël Joseph, allegedly a key figure in the planning for the operation. According to police, two weeks before the assassination Louis accompanied Joseph and Vitelhomme Innocent, a powerful gang leader, to rent five vehicles connected to the mission.
Joseph, a well-known opposition politician, has admitted to U.S. investigators, who are conducting a parallel investigation, that he helped obtain the vehicles and tried to acquire firearms for the operation. He also admitted to FBI agents in an interview that he met with certain co-conspirators just before they “embarked on the mission to kill President Moïse,” according to a U.S criminal complaint affidavit.
Joseph pleaded not guilty and is currently in federal custody in Miami, along with two other jailed suspects, Mario Antonio Palacios Palacios, a retired Colombian solider, and Rodolphe Jaar, a Haitian businessman and convicted drug trafficker. Those three suspects are currently awaiting trial in federal court on charges that they conspired to kill Moïse, 53. They were transferred to the United States after fleeing to Jamaica and the Dominican Republic, where they were arrested.
Haitian police allege that a hit squad made up of former Colombian soldiers and two Haitian Americans from South Florida stormed the president’s home under the cover of darkness and killed him.
Moïse was shot 12 times and tortured, and died at the scene. His wife, former first lady Martine Moïse, was seriously wounded, while the couple’s two children were left unharmed after hiding in a bathroom.
Among those jailed shortly thereafter were the coordinator of the president’s security detail, Jean Laguel Civil, accused of bribing cops not to show up for work or to stand down during the armed attack, and the head of the palace guards, Dimitri Hérard. They are among several Haiti National Police officers who have been jailed and who, according to a 124-page investigative report first obtained by the Herald, showed “no intention of defending” Moïse during the attack.
Earlier this month, the police internal affairs unit recommended that several officers accused in the attack or assigned to the detail be fired or disciplined.
Faustin is close to former government consultant Joseph Félix Badio, another key suspect in the assassination who served as best man at Faustin’s wedding. Badio is a fugitive.
In addition to Badio, Faustin is also believed to be an associate of Innocent, who was indicted by the U.S. Department of Justice for his alleged role in the kidnapping of 16 American missionaries last year on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince and is currently the subject of a $1 million U.S. reward seeking information leading to his arrest.
Presidential candidate Jovenel Moise, center, from the PHTK party, greets supporters while campaigning in Petion-Ville, Haiti, Friday, Jan. 8, 2016. Campaigning for Haiti’s presidential runoff has kicked off, but it appears there’s only one candidate actively participating. Government-backed contender Moise held his first runoff rally late Friday. But No. 2 candidate Jude Celestin’s team says he will only take part in the vote if sweeping changes are made to electoral machinery. (AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery)
In this Sunday, Oct. 11, 2015 photo, presidential candidate Jovenel Moise, center, from the PHTK political party arrives for a campaign meeting in Carrefour, Haiti. This year’s unprecedented three rounds of balloting will pick Haiti’s next president, two-thirds of the Senate, the entire Chamber of Deputies and local offices. The Oct. 25 vote is expected to clear the sprawling presidential field for a runoff Dec. 27 between the top two finishers. (AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery)
Presidential candidate Jovenel Moise from the PHTK political party waves to supporters as he arrives to a press conference in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Thursday, Nov. 5, 2015. Moise and former state construction chief Jude Celestin will advance to a runoff election for Haiti’s presidency, election authorities announced Thursday. (AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery)
Jovenel Moise talks to journalists during an interview in his office in Petion-Ville, Haiti, Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016. Moise, a political newcomer backed by Haiti’s previous elected leader, easily won the presidential election redo, according to preliminary results that were quickly questioned Tuesday by several losing factions. (AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery)
Jovenel Moise talks to journalists during an interview in his office in Petion-Ville, Haiti, Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2016. Moise, a political newcomer backed by Haiti’s previous elected leader, easily won the presidential election redo, according to preliminary results that were quickly questioned Tuesday by several losing factions. (AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery)
U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, left, talks with Haiti’s President Jovenel Moise during a press conference in the National Palace in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Wednesday May 31, 2017. Kelly traveled to Haiti for a brief visit less than two weeks after the Trump administration suggested that 58,000 Haitians in the U.S. should get ready to return home. (AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery)
Vice President Mike Pence, right, speaks to Jovenel Moise, President of Haiti, during the U.S-Central America Security Conference in Miami, Thursday, June 15, 2017. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Haiti’s President Jovenel Moise, right, speaks with US actor Sean Penn at the One Planet Summit, in Boulogne-Billancourt, near Paris, France, Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017. World leaders, investment funds and energy magnates promised to devote new money and technology to slow global warming at a summit in Paris that President Emmanuel Macron hopes will rev up the Paris climate accord that U.S. President Donald Trump has rejected. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
Haiti President Jovenel Moise talks with Pope Francis during a private audience at the Vatican, Friday, Jan. 26, 2018. (Alberto Pizzoli/Pool Photo Via AP)
FILE – In this Feb. 7, 2020, file photo, Haiti’s President Jovenel Moise speaks during an interview at his home in Petion-Ville, a suburb of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Sources say Moise was assassinated at home, first lady hospitalized amid political instability. (AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery, File)
FILE – In this Aug. 28, 2019, file photo, Haiti’s President Jovenel Moise speaks during an interview in his office in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Moïse was assassinated after a group of unidentified people attacked his private residence, the country’s interim prime minister said in a statement Wednesday, July 7, 2021. Moïse’s wife, First Lady Martine Moïse, is hospitalized, interim Premier Claude Joseph said. (AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery, File)
FILE – In this May 23, 2018, file photo, Haiti’s President Jovenel Moise, left, and First Lady Martine Moise, in red, receive Spain’s Queen Letizia Ortiz at the national Palace in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Wednesday, May 23, 2018. Moïse was assassinated after a group of unidentified people attacked his private residence, the country’s interim prime minister said in a statement Wednesday, July 7, 2021. Moïse’s wife, First Lady Martine Moïse, is hospitalized, interim Premier Claude Joseph said. (AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery, File)
FILE – In this Sept. 27, 2018, file photo, Haiti’s President Jovenel Moise addresses the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly, at U.N. headquarters in New York. Moïse was assassinated after a group of unidentified people attacked his private residence, the country’s interim prime minister said in a statement Wednesday, July 7, 2021. Moïse’s wife, First Lady Martine Moïse, is hospitalized, interim Premier Claude Joseph said. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)
FILE – In this April 7, 2018, file photo, Haiti’s President Jovenel Moise, center, leaves the museum during a ceremony marking the 215th anniversary of revolutionary hero Toussaint Louverture’s death, at the National Pantheon museum in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Moïse was assassinated after a group of unidentified people attacked his private residence, the country’s interim prime minister said in a statement Wednesday, July 7, 2021. (AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery, File)
FILE – In this Feb. 7, 2017 file photo, newly sworn-in Haitian President Jovenel Moise walks with Police Chief Michel-Ange Gedeon past National Police at the National Palace after his inauguration ceremony at Parliament in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Moïse was assassinated in an attack on his private residence early Wednesday, July 7, 2021, according to a statement from the country’s interim prime minister. (AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery, File)
FILE – In this May 18, 2021 file photo, Haitian President Jovenel Moise, center, walks with First Lady Martine Moise, left, and interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph, right, during a ceremony marking the 218th anniversary of the creation of the Haitian flag in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Moïse was assassinated in an attack on his private residence early Wednesday, and the first lady was shot in the overnight attack and hospitalized, according to a statement from Joseph. (AP Photo/Joseph Odelyn, File)
FILE – In this Feb. 7, 2020 file photo, Haitian President Jovenel Moise arrives for an interview at his home in Petion-Ville, a suburb of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Moïse was assassinated in an attack on his private residence early Wednesday, July 7, 2021, and First Lady Martine Moïse was shot in the overnight attack and hospitalized, according to a statement from the country’s interim prime minister. (AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery, File)

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