Haitian president's assassination: Businessman gets life in prison over involvement in 2021 killing

A businessman has been sentenced to life in prison for helping Colombian mercenaries get weapons to assassinate Haitian President Jovenel Moise in 2021.

Haitian-Chilean defendant Rodolphe Jaar pleaded guilty in March this year to conspiring to commit murder or kidnapping outside of the US, and to providing material support that resulted in death.

Judge Jose E Martinez handed him the life sentence at a hearing in the federal court in Miami.

He was the first person to be convicted and sentenced in an alleged plot by conspirators in Haiti and Florida to obtain lucrative contracts under a successor to Mr Moise.

Despite Jaar pleading guilty and offering to cooperate with investigators in the hope of getting a less severe sentence, he was given the maximum term possible.

Jaar had previously been an informant for the US government and was convicted of drug trafficking a decade ago.

Of all the 11 individuals arrested and accused in the US over the Moise murder, he was the only one who pleaded guilty.

The others are scheduled for a jury trial to begin in July, although the date may be changed.

Mr Moise, who was 53, was assassinated on 7 July 2021 when intruders broke into his private residence in the capital Port-au-Prince.

Along with Jaar, the defendants involved in the Miami case include Mario Palacios and Germán Alejandro Rivera García, who are both former Colombian soldiers; John Joel Joseph, a former Haitian senator; James Solages, Joseph Vincent, and Christian Emmanuel Sanon, who are all Haitian-Americans; Federick Joseph Bergmann, an American; Arcangel Pretel Ortiz, a Colombian; Antonio Intriago, a Venezuelan-American; and Walter Veintemilla, an Ecuadorian-American financier.

The Haitian government has also arrested over 40 individuals for their alleged involvement in the murder, including 18 former Colombian soldiers.

Jaar was taken into custody in the Dominican Republic and arrived in South Florida in January 2022. He has since been held in federal detention, after voluntarily agreeing to be transferred to Miami to face his accusations, said US authorities.

The conspirators had originally planned to kidnap the Haitian president but later changed the plan to kill him instead, according to court documents.

Several of the former South American soldiers stayed in a house controlled by Jaar, it was alleged.