Haiti’s Prime Minister Suspends Controversial Presidential Pardons

VOA, By Sandra Lemaire, Renan Toussaint, July 02, 2020

WASHINGTON/PORT-AU-PRINCE – Haitian Prime Minister Joseph Jouthe is asking Lucmane Delille, Haiti’s minister of justice and public security, to suspend the release of 415 prisoners who received a presidential pardon.

Presidential press secretary Eddy Jackson Alexis announced the news on Twitter, saying the decision was made during a ministerial video conference on Wednesday.

“In the interest of protecting the citizens and law and order in the Republic, prime minister @jouthejoseph is temporarily suspending prisoner pardons. An official document supporting this decision will be forthcoming,” the tweet said.

President Jovenel Moise’s decree announcing the pardons to free up space in the country’s overcrowded prisons amid the COVID-19 pandemic was signed by the president, the prime minister and the justice and public security minister.

Critics say the prime minister does not have the authority to halt the prisoner releases and that only a presidential decree can reverse it. They also denounced the list for including rapists, notorious criminals and gang leaders.

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