Police in Haiti detain new suspect in 2021 slaying of President Jovenel Moïse
President Jovenel Moïse

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Authorities in Haiti on Monday arrested a new suspect in the July 2021 slaying of President Jovenel Moïse.

Macky Kessa, mayor of the southern coastal city of Jacmel, was detained but has not been charged, his attorney, Jimmy Jean-Baptiste, told The Associated Press.

He said Kessa is being held in Haiti’s notorious National Penitentiary in the capital, Port-au-Prince, and that he plans to seek his release.

It wasn’t immediately clear why Kessa was detained. Jean-Baptiste declined further comment, noting that the investigation is ongoing.

The arrest occurred after Kessa met with Judge Walther Wesser Voltaire, who is investigating the case and has interviewed several other suspects who have been languishing in jail for more than two years. Voltaire is the fifth judge to be appointed to the case, with previous judges stepping down for various reasons, including fear of being killed.

Voltaire did not immediately return a message requesting comment. He has previously said he would not discuss the case publicly because it is still ongoing, with several hearings being held but no trial yet scheduled.

More than 40 suspects have been arrested in the case, most of them shortly after Moïse was fatally shot at his private residence in an attack that also injured his wife, Martine Moïse.

Among those detained are 18 former Colombian soldiers accused of taking part in the plot and several high-ranking Haitian police officers.

While the case drags on in Haiti, 11 suspects have been extradited to the US with two of them already sentenced.

US prosecutors have described a wide-ranging plot among suspects in Haiti and South Florida who aimed to benefit from lucrative contracts under a successor to Moïse, after he was either kidnapped or killed.

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