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US prosecutors win first guilty plea in murder of Haiti leader

Haitian-Chilean dual citizen Rodolphe Jaar has pled guilty in Miami to his role in the 2021 murder of Haitian president Jovenel Moise. ©AFP

Miami (AFP) - Dual Haitian-Chilean citizen Rodolphe Jaar, one of several men accused in the 2021 murder of Haitian president Jovenel Moise, pled guilty on Friday in the United States to charges related to the assassination, court documents show.

Jaar, 50, admitted before a judge that he provided "material support and resources" knowing that they would be used to kidnap and kill the president, his plea statement says.

Jaar, a businessman, is the first among 11 people charged by US prosecutors in south Florida with a role in planning the assassination.  

The 53-year-old Haitian leader was gunned down on July 7, 2021, by Colombian mercenaries at his private residence in Port-au-Prince.His security detail did not intervene.

According to the guilty plea, Jaar housed the Colombian commando team and gave them weapons. 

In pleading guilty, Jaar offered to help federal authorities investigating Moise's murder, in hopes of winning a reduced sentence.

Without a sentence reduction, Jaar faces a possible maximum term of life in prison.

His sentencing has been set for early June.

A lust for money and power led to the plot to kill Moise, US Attorney for the Southern District of Florida Markenzy Lapointe declared at a February 15 news conference in Miami.

At that time, Lapointe announced the arrest of four suspects in the murder, among them Venezuelan Antonio Intriago and Colombian Arcangel Pretel Ortiz.

The US investigation revealed that Intriago and Ortiz, managers of the Miami security firm CTU, devised a plan to kidnap Moise and replace him with Christian Sanon, a Haitian-American citizen who wanted to become president of the Caribbean country.

In exchange for toppling Moise, they were promised lucrative contracts to build infrastructure and provide security forces and military equipment in a future government led by Sanon, also indicted in the United States, prosecutors said.

After failing to kidnap Moise, the leaders of the coup plot allegedly decided to assassinate him with a commando of 20 Colombians hired by CTU.

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