Related topics

Photo being shared on WhatsApp does not show slain Haitian president

July 7, 2021 GMT

CLAIM: Photo of a man lying on the pavement in blue pants covered in blood shows Haitian president Jovenel Moïse after his assassination early Wednesday.

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. The photo has been circulating online since August 2020. It shows a slain lawyer, not the assassinated president.

THE FACTS: As news broke of Moise’s assassination, the Haitian diaspora began circulating the old photo on WhatsApp as proof of the president’s death.

But the photo does not show the 53-year-old president, it is from the August 29, 2020, killing of Monferrier Dorval, a prominent lawyer who was shot outside his home. Dorval was head of the bar association in the capital of Haiti.

During a September 2020 protest demanding justice for Dorval, an AP photographer captured a protester reenacting the lawyer’s death. The protester placed graphic photos of Dorval dead on top of his body during the reenactment.

The photo used by the protester matches the photo that circulated on social media falsely identified as showing the death of the Haitian president. The misrepresented photo was also shared in Spanish online.

Moïse had denounced Dorval’s killing calling it a “great loss for the country.”

Moïse was killed and first lady Martine Moïse was seriously injured during the attack on their residence. The president had been ruling by decree for more than a year after the country failed to hold elections. In recent months, the opposition demanded he step down.


This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.

Here’s more information on Facebook’s fact-checking program: