Man sought for Haitian president's death in Turkish custody


ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkish authorities have issued a 40-day temporary custody order for a man considered a suspect in the July 7 assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse and placed him in a prison in Istanbul, Turkey’s state-run news agency reported.

The suspect, businessman Samir Handal, was detained at Istanbul Airport early on Monday where he arrived in transit from the United States to Jordan, Anadolu Agency reported. His arrest was announced by authorities in Haiti later on Monday.

Haitian Foreign Minister Claude Joseph said on his Twitter account that he spoke with his Turkish counterpart about Handal’s arrest but gave no more details, including whether Haiti would seek the man’s extradition.

Anadolu Agency said Handal was wanted on an Interpol notice and detained by airport police on arrival in Istanbul. He was later questioned by court officials who issued the 40-day temporary custody order which was requested by Turkey’s Justice Ministry, the report said.

He is currently in Istanbul’s Maltepe prison, the agency reported.

Handal has been mentioned as a suspect in the plot to kill the Haitian president, although the government has not given any specifics about his alleged involvement.

More than 40 suspects have been arrested so far in the presidential slaying, including 18 former Colombian soldiers and several Haitian police officers. Colombian authorities have said the majority of its former soldiers did not know the true nature of the operation they were hired to participate in.

In October, another Colombian man was arrested in Jamaica.

Moïse was shot dead and his wife was wounded in a pre-dawn attack at his private home.

The presidential killing deepened the political instability in the country, which also since then has been trying to recover from a magnitude 7.2 earthquake that killed more than 2,200 people in Haiti’s southwestern region in mid-August, a spike in gang-related violence and a severe shortage of fuel.