A Haitian former senator has become the third suspect to be charged in the US in connection with the murder of Haiti’s president, Jovenel Moïse.
Mr Moïse was killed in July by gunmen who stormed his home in Port-au-Prince.
Ex-Senator John Joel Joseph has been charged with “conspiring to commit murder or kidnapping” and of providing material support resulting in Mr Moïse’s death.
He was arrested in January in Jamaica and extradited to the US last week.
The 51-year-old, who was a political rival of President Moïse, made his first appearance in a court in Miami on Monday.
The US Department of Justice argues it has jurisdiction in the case because it says some of the alleged co-conspirators met in Miami to plot the murder.
In a news release, it gave more details of the allegations against the former senator.
According to prosecutors, the idea had initially been to kidnap President Moïse by presenting him with what looked like an arrest warrant.
But when the alleged conspirators could not secure a plane to take the president out of Haiti, that plan “ultimately resulted in a plot to kill the president”, prosecutors say.
They accuse Mr Joseph of procuring cars and trying to obtain guns “to support the operation against the president”.
They also say that he met with “certain co-conspirators” the day before the assassination, “after which many of the co-conspirators embarked on the mission to kill President Moïse”.
Haitian police had identified Mr Joseph as a prime suspect just days after Mr Moïse’s murder. Their investigative report said he “was instrumental in his fierce will to kill the president”.
According to the Haitian police investigation, a group of mainly foreign mercenaries – 26 Colombians and two Haitian Americans – entered the president’s home in Port-au-Prince on 7 July and shot him dead.
A number of suspects have been arrested in Haiti but with the Haitian police’s investigation seemingly stalled, all eyes are on the US courts.
Apart from Mr Joseph, two other suspect are facing charges in US courts of conspiring to commit murder or kidnapping.
They are Colombian ex-soldier Mario Palacios, 43, who pleaded not guilty last month, and Haitian-Chilean businessman Rodolphe Jaar, 49.
If found guilty, they could face life in prison.
SOURCE: BBC NEWS