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Haiti ‘categorically rejects’ report following CNN investigation into presidential assassination

<i>Getty Images</i><br/>Haiti 'categorically rejects' the report following CNN investigation into the presidential assassination. Pictured is a mural of the late Haitian President Jovenel Moïse
Getty Images
Haiti 'categorically rejects' the report following CNN investigation into the presidential assassination. Pictured is a mural of the late Haitian President Jovenel Moïse

By Matt Rivers, Etant Dupain and Natalie Gallón, CNN

Haiti’s government have said they “categorically reject” the allegations “published in the international press,” following this week’s publication of a CNN investigation into the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse.

The CNN investigation, published on Tuesday, shed new light onto Moïse’s July 7, 2021 killing, including how a secret recording, failed raid and phone records led a stealth team of Haitian investigators to point the finger at Prime Minister Ariel Henry.

Multiple law enforcement sources detailed a series of actions that they say connect the Prime Minister to the assassination, including being involved in the plot to kill Moïse and obstructing the subsequent investigation.

“These desperate maneuvers constitute a diversion serving to confuse the tracks of the investigation, further weaken the security situation and further destabilize the country, thus aggravating the suffering of the population,” Jean Victor Généus, the country’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Culture, said through a diplomatic letter dated Thursday.

CNN also obtained exclusive audio of Judge Garry Orélien, the former judge in the assassination case, speaking about Henry.

In that recording, Orélien said, “Ariel (Henry) is connected and friends with the mastermind of the assassination. They planned it with him. Ariel is a prime suspect of Jovenel Moïse’s assassination, and he knows it.”

CNN verified the recording, taken in fall 2021, by comparing it to other known recordings of Orélien and through extensive conversations CNN has had with him, as well as from voice messages. Orélien did not know he was being recorded.

The months-long investigation found that Orélien believes Henry is complicit in the assassination and cover-up, but that he was unable to prosecute him.

“Do you think I can touch Ariel (Henry) now? How can I do that? I won’t be able to give (any order to indict him), it won’t see the light of day,” Orélien said in the recording.

Généus said in Thursday’s letter that Orélien “categorically rejects these lies.”

“I don’t recall talking to anyone about the case in great detail,” Orélien told CNN when asked about the recording. “Lots of people are trying to influence the case and I will not play their game.”

The official case looking into the assassination is still proceeding in Haiti, but practically, it is all but dead. It has produced no new arrests, no new suspects or any evidence since August. Technically, it is still open.

The US Justice Department has ramped up its own investigation into the assassination, recently extraditing and charging two top suspects in the case for allegedly planning the assassination on US soil. According to the federal complaint, one of the men provided the arms and ammunition to kill Haiti’s President.

Two Haitian investigators told CNN they believe that if their US counterparts keep digging, the Prime Minister will also emerge as a key suspect.

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