Suspect in the Assassination of Haitian President Jouvenel Moïse Arrested Fleeing to Turkey

Haitian businessman, Samir Handal was apprehended after U.S. authorities shared intelligence to detain him.

A key suspect in the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse has been arrested four months after the ambush at his home in Port-au-Prince. Haitian businessman, Samir Handal, was apprehended in Turkey after arriving on a flight from Miami.  He had been living in Florida since the July 7 assassination of Moïse when 28 mercenaries stormed Moise's private residence in the night, shooting him to death and injuring his wife.

The Miami Herald reports Turkey was alerted to Handal’s arrival by U.S. authorities as part of international police assistance in this case.  He is the second suspect to be arrested after fleeing abroad. Mario Palacios Palacios, a former Colombian military officer, was arrested in Kingston, Jamaica, last month after surrendering to authorities there.

According to the Jamaica Gleaner, Palacios remains in custody in Jamaica. A judge there found Palacios guilty of illegally entering the country, so he could be returned to Colombia under a deportation order. While Haitian authorities have requested Palacios’ extradition to Haiti, Jamaica doesn’t have an extradition treaty with the francophone nation.

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Haiti Foreign Affairs Minister Claude Joseph has reportedly asked for Colombia’s foreign minister and vice president to cooperate with having Palacios sent to Haiti, where 18 other former Colombian military soldiers are jailed and accused of assassinating Moïse.

The killing remains unsolved and the case has been confused with death threats, political interference, and various breaches in procedure. The Haitian judge leading the investigation has yet to bring formal charges in the case.

Handal, a builder and businessman in Haiti, has been linked to Haitian physician, Christian Emmanuel Sanon, who lives in South Florida. Haitian authorities consider Sanon one of the alleged “intellectual authors” of the assassination. Sanon has denied any involvement in Moïse’s death despite being linked to a Miami-area security firm that recruited the Colombian mercenaries and a pair of Haitian-Americans who say they were working as translators.

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Sanon and some of the soldiers allege they were at the president’s private residence on July 7 to arrest Moïse and install a new president. Sanon was arrested two days after Moïse’s murder. He was apprehended at a home that belonged to Handal.

The Miami Herald reports that the Haiti National Police said in a 124-page summary of their own investigation report of the murder, a police search of the residence turned up several personal items of Handal’s including three Palestinian passports bearing his name, and a checkbook.

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