November 28, 2023

Miami (Associated Press) – One of the main defendants in the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moise pleaded not guilty Wednesday in federal court in Miami.

Businessman Rudolph Jarre is accused of conspiracy to commit murder or kidnapping outside the United States and providing material support that led to his death. If convicted, Jaar faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

In a less than five-minute hearing in downtown Miami federal court, Judge Chris M. McCalley accepted Jaar’s petition for a jury trial.

Jaar, 49, was present at the session, but did not speak. His attorney, Frank Schwartz, asked the government to present all the evidence it had.

The businessman, a native of Haiti and Chile, seemed serious but calm. His hair was pulled into a small ponytail and he was wearing a beige prison uniform. He was handcuffed, his ankles were shackled, and he had a face mask covering his beard.

His call came nearly a year after a squad of former Colombian soldiers, Haitian police officers and others drove to the president’s residence and killed him on July 7, 2021.

The Miami case concerns three foreign defendants: Jaar, former Haitian senator John Joel Joseph and former Colombian soldier Mario Palacios. Meanwhile, the Haitian government has arrested more than 40 people for their alleged involvement in the murder, including 18 former Colombian soldiers.

Jaar, who remains in federal prison in South Florida, arrived in the United States in January after being detained in the Dominican Republic. According to the US authorities, he voluntarily agreed to be transferred to Miami to face the charges.

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