Haiti’s Interior Minister Denies Involvement in Assassination
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) _ In his first interview since being linked to the assassination of an outspoken opposition leader, Haiti’s interior minister has adamantly denied any involvement.
Mondesir Beaubrun told Voice of America’s Creole-language service on Thursday: ``I am astonished that they could accuse me, Beaubrun, of being involved in that situation.″
Maj. Gen. George Fisher, commander of the U.S.-led multinational force in Haiti, wrote to Justice Minister Jean-Joseph Exume on March 22 that Beaubrun was alleged to be involved in a conspiracy to kill Mireille Durocher Bertin.
Six days later, on March 28, Bertin, 35, and a companion were shot to death on a city street. She had supported the army coup leaders during the three years that President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was in exile, and openly criticized him after his return in October. Her killers have not been found.
Franck Romain, a former Duvalier loyalist, on Wednesday claimed Beaubrun plotted the killing. Romain has been in exile in the Dominican Republic since arrest warrants were issued in February accusing him of plotting against national security.
Beaubrun told VOA that he learned of the plot around March 19. He charged that some enemies were smearing his name because of his longtime involvement in the Haitian army.
``It hurts me when I see that because of my position in the government, they are sullying Haiti’s reputation,″ he said.
In the letter to Exume, Fisher said a Haitian interpreter with the multinational force, Claude Douge, had told force officials that a man named Patrick Moise told him he had been hired by Beaubrun to assassinate Bertin and was given an Uzi submachine gun to carry out the task. Douge surrendered an Uzi to the U.S.-led troops, Fisher wrote.
``To my knowledge the Ministry of the Interior has no arms registered in its name,″ Beaubrun said Thursday. ``Even the security guards here have no weapons. They don’t even have a nightstick!″
Moise and his brother Eddy were driving a vehicle registered to the Interior Ministry when they were taken into custody March 19. Beaubrun acknowledged that the vehicle was registered to the ministry, but pointed out that the agency has employees all over Haiti.
``The minister of the interior cannot have control of all the cars of its employees at all times,″ he said.
He said he had seen Patrick Moise around the ministry and knew he had friends there, but was not personally acquainted with the brothers.
Beaubrun also suggested that Bertin’s companion, pilot Eugene Baillerjeux, may have been the target of the assassination, since they were killed in his car and he was shot first.
On Wednesday, cabinet ministers in a private meeting discussed whether to ask for Beaubrun’s resignation but decided to wait for results of a joint government-FBI investigation, a government source said on condition of anonymity.