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Haitian judge overseeing Moïse slaying case withdraws

August 13, 2021 GMT
A man touches a portrait of the late Haitian President Jovenel Moïse outside the Cathedral where a memorial service for him takes place in Cap-Haitien, Haiti, Thursday, July 22, 2021. Moïse was killed in his home on July 7. (AP Photo/Matias Delacroix)
A man touches a portrait of the late Haitian President Jovenel Moïse outside the Cathedral where a memorial service for him takes place in Cap-Haitien, Haiti, Thursday, July 22, 2021. Moïse was killed in his home on July 7. (AP Photo/Matias Delacroix)
A man touches a portrait of the late Haitian President Jovenel Moïse outside the Cathedral where a memorial service for him takes place in Cap-Haitien, Haiti, Thursday, July 22, 2021. Moïse was killed in his home on July 7. (AP Photo/Matias Delacroix)
A man touches a portrait of the late Haitian President Jovenel Moïse outside the Cathedral where a memorial service for him takes place in Cap-Haitien, Haiti, Thursday, July 22, 2021. Moïse was killed in his home on July 7. (AP Photo/Matias Delacroix)
A man touches a portrait of the late Haitian President Jovenel Moïse outside the Cathedral where a memorial service for him takes place in Cap-Haitien, Haiti, Thursday, July 22, 2021. Moïse was killed in his home on July 7. (AP Photo/Matias Delacroix)

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — The Haitian judge assigned to oversee the investigation into the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse has withdrawn from the case citing personal reasons, a decision that might delay the much-anticipated probe.

Judge Mathieu Chanlatte, who was named to oversee the case less than a week ago, announced his decision in a letter, the dean of the Court of First Instance in Port-au-Prince, Magistrate Bernard Saint-Vil, said on Friday.

Saint-Vil told The Associated Press he will choose a judge to replace Chanlatte in the coming days, likely early next week.

Chanlatte did not elaborate on why he had decided to withdraw from the case besides citing personal reasons. He left the post a day after one of his assistants, Ernst Lafortune, died under unclear circumstances.

Several days ago, court clerks investigating Moïse’s death told the AP they had gone into hiding after being threatened with death if they didn’t change some names and statements in their reports.

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The National Association of Haitian Legal Clerks said Thursday in a press release that Ernst Lafortune, a clerk working for Chanlatte, died and it asked for an investigation to clarify the circumstances.

Moïse was killed on July 7, when armed men raided his private home. His wife, Martine Moïse, was seriously wounded but is recovering.

Police have arrested more than 40 suspects, but there’s still no clarity about who was behind the plot to kill him. Among the detainees are 18 former Colombian soldiers and 20 Haitian police officers.