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Judge and clerks investigating assassination of Haitian president on the run amid death threats

A judge and two legal clerks investigating the assassination of the Haitian president have been forced to go on the run after receiving death threats.

Justice of the Peace Carl Henry Destin and clerks Marcelin Valentin and Waky Philostene say the threats began rolling in hours after the killing of former premier Jovenel Moise on January 7.

They were repeatedly ordered to remove sworn testimony of two witnesses from their investigation documentation - and forced to go into hiding as the threats ramped up. The clerks received a text warning that failure to comply with orders to tamper meant they'd get 'a bullet in your head.'  

'There are great interests at play that are not interested in solving this case,' Valentin told the New York Times. 'There's no progress, no will to find the truth.' 

He added: 'This is an exceptional case. But it is being conducted in the same system of impunity and corruption as all the others.

Carl Henry Destin, a Haitian justice of the peace, was working with FBI agents and forensic teams during his investigation on July 15. He is now on the run along with two judges after receiving death threats for failure to alter evidence and sworn statements

Haitian President Jovenel Moïse, left, and Haitian First Lady Martine Moïse are seen at the National Palace in Port-au-Prince, Haiti on May 23, 2018

Now the three are on the run, changing their location every few hours, with a backpack full of legal documents that could determine whether or not the nation sees justice over the murder of their president.

During their investigation, the clerks witnessed police moving the bodies of the suspects and tampering and removing evidence, all while denying the investigators access to the crime scene for nine hours after the killing. 

As Justice of the Peace, Destin also fulfils the role of crime scene investigator, and is tasked with checking out a crime scene. 

But he says he was barred from going near Jovenel's body for nine hours after his death, with officials claiming they feared assassins might still be on the loose.  

Court documents also show that two Columbian former soldiers killed after the assassination were found with about $42,000 in cash on them, but subsequent reports exclude mention of the money among the evidence collected by police. 

Valentin said that after reviewing the interrogations of more than 50 suspects, he received a call from the late-president's security chief, Jean Laguel Civil, asking him what the suspects had said. 

Suspects accused of playing a role in the assassination of the president sit up against a white wall with a group of weapons lined up in front of them on July 8, hours after Jovenel Moise was killed 

Suspects in the assassination of President Jovenel are shown to the media in Port-au-Prince on July 8

Later that day, an unknown man entered his office to demand that he had two prominent Haitians - Reginald Boulos, a businessman, and Youri Latortue, a politician - to the suspects' statements in order to implicate the men in the assassination plot. 

When Valentin refused, the death threats began. Both men deny all involvement in the case, and say an attempt is being made to frame them. 

'Clerk, you can expect a bullet in your head,' read a text message Valentin received on July 16, according to a complaint filed to the prosecutor's office. 'We ordered you to do something, and you're doing jack all.'

Both Philostene and Destin said they received similar threats after being pressured to modify sworn statements.  

Mrs Moise appeared in her first TV interview since the attack and asked why not a single security guard who was protecting the home was injured. (Pictured: People look into a police car s the crowd surrounds the Petionville Police Station where armed men were accused of being involve in the assassination of the president were taken)

MSAU Marines were sent to Haiti on July 16 in wake of the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, which has prompted violent protests (as seen in this photo from July 26) nationwide

Demonstrators have blocked roads, demanded justice and threatened to disrupt the slain president's funeral (Photo taken as police prevented protesters from attending Moïse's funeral outside his family home)

Boulos said the attempt to throw his name into the investigation revealed that the nation's elite were using the assassination as a way to persecute political opponents.

'They could not find any evidence against me, so they are trying to subvert the process by the process by putting pressure and threatening the courts,' Boulos told The New York Times. 

Although they reported the threats to the prosecutors' office, their requests for help were ultimately ignored. 

The Haitian government has faced further allegations of corruption after interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph vowed to bring the assassins to justice hours after Moise's killing on July 7.

He appealed for US federal investigators and Interpol agents to travel there to aid in finding the killers - only for them to find themselves barred from viewing crucial evidence when they flew to the island as a matter of urgency. 

DailyMail.com has contacted Haiti's police chief Leon Charles, who ignored requests for a comment from the New York Times.  

These types of threats and corruption have continued to plague the investigation. 

While police have detained more than suspects in connection to the murder, experts believe Haiti's crumbling judicial system and the chaotic nature of the crime could result in the assassination going unpunished. 

'The judicial system is held hostage by certain sectors and weakened by a disciplinary body... that protects dishonest and corrupt judges but persecutes, through bogus human rights NGOs, those who are honest,' Haiti's Office of Citizens Protection said in a statement.

Haiti's First Lady Martine Moise appeared in her first TV interview this week since the attack and asked why not a single security guard who was protecting the home was injured.

The former First Lady was shot and seriously injured before her husband was fatally shot 

Martine Moïse, 47, (right) was laying on the floor of her bedroom as her husband Haitian President Jovenel Moïse, 47, was shot dead next to her. Her daughter Jomarlie Moise (right) was also home at the time of the attack. 

After the attack, when she was finally let out of the house by police, Moise noticed that there were no security guards outside and came to the conclusion they had either 'let the attackers in' or 'abandoned their posts'.

The president and first lady were asleep in their bed in their home on the hills of Port-au-Prince on July 7 when deafening gunshots rang out and woke them up in a state of panic. 

Mrs. Moise and her husband hid in the bedroom when the door burst open and the attackers 'ransacked the room', after she was hit with a bullet.

Talking on CNN, Mrs. Moise said: 'They came to find something because I heard them saying 'that's not it, that's not it, there it is', which means they found what they were looking for.'

She added that she does not know what they found, but after finding the item the attacker approached her husband and called someone.

The attackers described President Jovenel, who at this time was unhurt and alive, and said that he was 'tall, skinny and black'.

First Lady Mrs. Moise said: 'Maybe the person on the phone confirmed to the shooter that was him and they shot him on the floor.'

She believes the attackers thought she was dead too when they left. 

Mrs. Moise was amazed that no security guards were injured after the attack and thinks that it's part of a much larger conspiracy. 

In the attack on July 7, Mrs Moise ran to wake up her two adult children instructing them to hide in the bathroom — the only room with no windows — with the family dog.

President Moise called his head of security and told his wife to lie down on the floor. 'That's where I think you will be safe,' she remembers him saying. It turned out to be the last thing he would say to his wife of 25 years.

Moments later the group of assassins broke into the presidential bedroom and opened fire. Gun shots hit Martine first, in the hand and elbow, as she lay on the floor as instructed.

Her elbow was shattered by a gunshot and her mouth filled with blood as she lay on the floor as the group of assassins charged into her bedroom.

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