Rodolfe Jaar was sentenced to life in prison Friday by Judge Jose Martinez of the Southern District of Florida for his role in the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moise. In Jaar’s March plea agreement, he admitted to “knowingly and willfully” providing weapons and personnel in furtherance of the plot.
Jaar’s original indictment alleges that a group of 20 Colombian nationals with military backgrounds were recruited to “assist in the execution of a purported Haitian arrest warrant for President Moise.” Jaar allegedly housed several of those recruited for the plot and was in charge of providing weapons to the group. The indictment goes on to allege that:
…Jaar was present when co-conspirator #1 secured the signature of a former Haitian judge on a written request for assistance to further the arrest and imprisonment of President Moise, as well as purporting to provide Haitian immunity for such actions.
The indictment goes on to allege that at least some of the conspirators thought the plan was to assassinate, rather than merely “arrest” or kidnap, Moise. Several conspirators then entered Moise’s home on July 7, 2021, killing Moise and injuring his wife.
The US has arrested several other alleged conspirators in South Florida, the alleged location where the assassination plan was devised. Samir Nasri Salem Handal has also been accused of participating in the plot, but Türkiye has refused to extradite him.
Haiti has been in political turmoil for some time, with the US Department of State warning travelers to avoid the country due to violent crime, kidnappings and political unrest. The US has also designated several political figures as being “involved in significant corruption” including former Haitian Prime Minister and Minister of Planning and External Cooperation Laurent Salvador Lamothe and former President of the Haitian Chamber of Deputies Gary Bodeau.
The Organization of American States (OAS) General Secretariat on Haiti has called on the international community to better support Haiti, saying, “Without the basic conditions of democracy and security, the country today is suffering from the international community’s lack of ideas and real capacity, as well as from its own structural problems.”