Haitian prosecutors seek to interview PM over presidential killing

Ariel Henry, tapped by late Haitian President Jovenel Moise to be the new prime minister just days before he was assassinated, arrives to the official memorial services for Moise, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti July 20, 2021. REUTERS/Ricardo Arduengo/File Photo

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Sept 10 (Reuters) - Haiti's chief public prosecutor invited Prime Minister Ariel Henry on Friday to meet with him next week to explain why he spoke with one of the main suspects in the assassination of former President Jovenel Moise on the night of the crime.

A letter sent by prosecutor Bed-Ford Claude to Henry said only a president could authorize official summons to someone of his rank, but the country was without one. Instead, he was being "invited" to attend and cooperate.

The hearing at the Court of First Instance of Port-au-Prince would take place at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, it said.

"The head of the criminal prosecution would be grateful if you could present yourself ... to cooperate with Haitian justice if you so wish, taking into account the restrictions given your status as a senior state official," the letter said.

Henry did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

Moise was shot dead when assassins stormed his private residence in the hills above Port-au-Prince on July 7, plunging the impoverished Caribbean country deeper into turmoil.

Investigators say former Haitian justice ministry official Joseph Felix Badio may have ordered the assassination.

Subpoenaed records from cellphone operator Digicel have now also enabled them to confirm accusations that Badio and Henry spoke on July 7, twice at around 4 a.m., just hours after Moise's killing, according to the letter sent on Friday.

Geolocalisation data also show Badio was speaking from the scene of the crime, the letter said.

Reporting by Andre Paultre; Writing by Sarah Marsh; Editing by Daniel Wallis

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