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International News: Convict in the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moise given life in prison

Posted: Monday, February 12, 2024. 12:03 pm CST.

Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images/BBC

By Aaron Humes: Haitian-American Joseph Vincent, 58, pleaded for forgiveness but was jailed for life for his role in the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moise in Port-au-Prince in 2021, the BBC reports.

Vincent is a former U.S. Government informant for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), who admitted as part of his guilty plea that he discussed the assassination plot and accompanied co-conspirators to Moise’s residence.

His role included advising his accomplices on Haitian politics, meeting with local political and community leaders, and encouraging protests against Moise as a pretext to overthrow him, according to Agence-France Presse (AFP). It is believed that during those meetings, Vincent wore a U.S. State Department pin to make others believe he worked for Washington. However the DEA said Vincent had not been acting on behalf of the agency.

Vincent is the fourth of 11 defendants to be sentenced to life in the Miami federal case for his supporting role in the murder plot. The trial is being held in Florida because the U.S. Justice Department ruled that it fell within its jurisdiction – since part of the plot was developed in South Florida. Vincent will be held in a Florida prison.

Court documents show that the operation was originally aimed at kidnapping the late president but later became a full-fledged assassination.

Also on Friday, another suspect, Frederick Joseph Bergmann Jr. pleaded guilty to submitting false or misleading export information. He has been accused of smuggling ballistic vests as part of the plot.

Colombian ex-soldiers and businessmen are also among those accused of helping supply funds or weapons and carrying out the attack.

Haiti has arrested 17 people for the murder of President Moise, according to the Miami Herald, but none of them have been formally charged.

Since Moise’s assassination, Haiti has plunged into political chaos and witnessed unprecedented levels of gang violence.

On Friday, the United Nations said January had been the most violent month in the country in more than two years, with some 1,100 people either killed, injured, or kidnapped in the month.

 

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