November 29, 2022

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Ex-Haiti prosecutor Claudy Gassant dies in Dominican Republic

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Claudy Gassant, a former investigative judge in Haiti charged with finding out who killed Jean Leopold Dominique, a famous journalist and outspoken critic, is dead in the Dominican Republic.

Claudy Gassant, a previous investigative judge in Haiti billed with acquiring out who killed Jean Leopold Dominique, a well known journalist and outspoken critic, is useless in the Dominican Republic.

A previous top governing administration prosecutor who was once pressured to flee Haiti for Miami in worry for his life is useless.

Claudy Gassant was found useless Saturday in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic where he a short while ago experienced been residing. The discovery arrived on the exact working day Gassant was predicted to be in South Florida for a conference on Haiti’s widening insecurity. His demise was explained as suspicious.

Smith Augustin, Haiti’s ambassador to the neighboring place, claimed Gassant’s death was verified by the Countrywide Division of Investigations (DNI).

“Police are in the dwelling investigating they are making an attempt to see if it was suicide or a homicide,” Augustin informed the Miami Herald.

Former Haiti Key Minister Jean-Max Bellerive, who spoke with Gassant often, explained he will skip the jurist.

“We’ve lost in a dramatic way, 1 of our most savvy specialists on penal techniques. He was secretary of state for justice in my federal government, but I will skip the friendship and the clever conversations I frequently experienced with him on how we could be practical to Haiti besides involvement in politics.”

Frantz Exantus, who served as secretary of point out for communication in Haiti, stated he was devastated by the information of his mate.

“Integrity, brave and competent. He has generally demonstrated himself in every situation he has held,” Exantus wrote on his Facebook site, incorporating that “an impartial investigation is essential.”

A significant-profile lawman, Gassant very first rose to fame in Haiti as the investigative choose tasked with locating out who murdered agronomist-turned-journalist Jean Léopold Dominique and a protection guard on April 3, 2000. Both of those gentlemen were being gunned down in the courtyard of Dominique’s Radio Haiti-Inter station in Port-au-Prince.

The moment a supporter of Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and his Lavalas Relatives occasion, Dominique had turn into an outspoken critic on the airwaves. Twenty-a single decades right after his assassination, his murder stays unsolved.

In Haiti, an investigative judge capabilities very similar to an American grand jury. Right after getting assigned the situation, Gassant usually complained about threats on his existence and walked all over the ministry of justice accompanied by intensely armed protection. In a 2001 interview, he informed the Miami Herald that he feared for his everyday living due to the fact effective persons in Aristide’s federal government may well be implicated in the murders.

“The government is towards me, the legislative is versus me, and the judiciary, much too,” he claimed at the time. “I’m so scared I really don’t know of whom to be afraid.”

Just after expending quite a few decades in South Florida, Gassant would return to Haiti, where he served in the governing administration of the late President René Préval and was tasked with rooting out corruption. But his clashes with the law enforcement and other individuals frequently overshadowed the work and made some uneasy with his strategies.

1 notorious episode finished with Gassant abruptly resigning his article as the country’s best prosecutor but not in advance of Préval was compelled to step in as referee. The resignation, which Gassant would affirm to the Herald, came just times after declaring in a press conference that the only way he would leave his article as Port-au-Prince district attorney is if he had been fired.

The resignation was the closing episode of a weeklong drama among Gassant and a Petionville law enforcement commissioner, Frantz Georges. It unfolded in the course of a July weekend at a konpa music competition after Gassant and a safety guard obtained into an argument when Gassant was refused re-entry into the celebration.

Upset, Gassant requested a gun examine at the concert and the jailing of the safety firm operator on expenses of acquiring an unlawful firearm.

In recent many years, Gassant experienced served as the head of Haiti’s anti-corruption device beneath President Jovenel Moïse, whose July 7 assassination continues to be less than investigation. Gassant had remaining the authorities by the time of Moïse assassination.

Gassant was appointed by Moïse as director common of the Device for the Combat Against Corruption on November 29, 2019 and fired 50 days soon after his Dec. 3, installation.

He discovered of his firing on social media right after it was introduced that the president experienced appointed a new director, Rockefeller Vincent, who is now Haiti’s current justice minister. The anti-corruption unit also employed a person of the suspects, Joseph Felix Badio, sought by Haitian police for questioning in the president’s murder.

On Saturday, Gassant experienced been scheduled to be in South Florida at Florida Global College, wherever he was to join many other Haitians for the convention. The meeting was arranged by users of the Haitian diaspora.

Profile Image of Jacqueline Charles

Jacqueline Charles has described on Haiti and the English-talking Caribbean for the Miami Herald for over a decade. A Pulitzer Prize finalist for her coverage of the 2010 Haiti earthquake, she was awarded a 2018 Maria Moors Cabot Prize — the most prestigious award for protection of the Americas.

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