Haitian businessman wanted in murder of President Jovenel Moise detained in Turkey

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Samir Handal

PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti– Haitian authorities Tuesday said that a Haitian businessman, Samir Handal, suspected of complicity in the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, had been detained in Turkey.

“I just had a telephone conversation with the Turkish Chancellor, my friend Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, to thank Turkey for the arrest of Samir Handal, one of the people of great interest in the investigation into the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse,” said Foreign Minister, Claude Joseph.

“We are going to continue diplomatic efforts with Turkey so that Samir Handal can be transferred quickly to Haiti and appear in court,” Joseph said, adding that he has since sent correspondence to  Çavuşoğlu, requesting rapid processing of Handal’s transfer to Haiti.

Turkish media reported on Tuesday that Handal, who was being sought with an Interpol Red Notice, was detained at the Istanbul Airport by authorities as he was flying transit from the United States to Jordan.

Moise was assassinated at his private residence on July 7. His wife, Martine, was also severely injured and had to be flown to the United States for medical treatment.

Haitian law enforcement authorities have detained a group of Colombian mercenaries as the main suspects in the murder of the 53-year-old former businessman who took office in 2017.

However, no one has been charged or convicted in connection with the case.

Joseph said that Haiti is also “working with other friendly countries to ensure that all suspects fleeing abroad are arrested and tried.”

Handal is the second suspect on the run arrested after Mario Palacios Palacios, a former Colombian military officer, was arrested in Kingston, Jamaica, last month.

The authorities are searching for several other suspects, including Joseph Félix Badio, a former Haitian Justice Ministry official.

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