(FILE) Haitians commemorate the second anniversary of the assassination of President Jovenel Moise, today, in Port-au-Prince (Haiti) July 7, 2023. EFE/ Johnson Sabin

US court sentences Colombian ex-military officer to life in prison for magnicide in Haiti

Miami, United States, Oct 27 (EFE). – Former Colombian military officer Germán Rivera, detained in the United States along with a group of suspects in the 2021 assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moise, was sentenced to life in prison on Friday in a Miami federal court, according to court documents.

Rivera, 44, pleaded guilty last month to four counts of conspiracy to commit murder and kidnapping.

During Friday’s sentencing before Judge José E. Martínez, “an interpreter swore and the defendant was subsequently sentenced,” according to court documents obtained by EFE.

The Colombian appeared in court in Miami along with Haitian-Americans James Solages, Joseph Vincent and Christian Sanon.

The four were transferred from Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital, to Miami earlier this year, with the exception of Sanon, they were charged with conspiracy to murder or kidnap a person outside the United States.

Moise was gunned down on July 7, 2021, by a commando armed with weapons and military equipment who stormed his home outside Port-au-Prince, leaving his wife, Marine Moise, seriously wounded.

According to the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida, the three Haitian-Americans met in the south of the state in April 2021 to discuss how to promote a change in the Caribbean nation’s presidency.

After the meeting, a list of equipment and weapons was produced, including rifles, machine guns, tear gas, grenades, ammunition, and bulletproof vests.

On June 10, 2021, Sanon shipped 20 ballistic vests from South Florida to his private military forces without the proper export licenses.

Days later, Solages, Vincent, Rivera, and others unsuccessfully attempted to arrest and kidnap the then president.

Afterwards Solages traveled from Haiti to South Florida on June 28, 2021, to complete the operation against Moise, and then returned to the island on July 1 to allegedly participate in the assassination.

On July 6, Solages, Vincent, Rivera and others met at a house near President Moise’s residence, where “Solages announced that the mission was to kill President Moise” and firearms and bulletproof vests were distributed, according to the US Attorney’s Office.

Others arrested in the case include Colombian Mario Palacios, Haitian-Chilean businessman Rodolphe Jaar and former Haitian senator Joseph Joel John, who was arrested in 2022.

Jaar pleaded guilty in March to providing support to the commando that carried out the assassination of the Haitian president and was also sentenced to life in prison last June by a federal judge in Miami, Florida.

As for Rivera, the court will recommend that he be sent to a federal facility “in southern Florida or as close as possible,” according to the ruling. EFE