Written by on January 9, 2017

A newly elected Haitian Senator has been arrested by the U.S.

Last Thursday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of Florida, arrested recently elected Haitian senator Guy Philippe, days before he was to be sworn into office.

That morning Phillip collected his legislative certificate, needed for today’s swearing in ceremony. However later that afternoon, following an interview with radio station Scoop FM, he was arrested by U.S. authorities who fired several shots during the 10 minutes it took to take him into custody.

Phillipe was immediately deported to the U.S. and indicted for conspiring to import, traffic, and launder the proceeds of more than 5 kilos of cocaine between 1999 and 2003. He is also accused of provided police officers as security for drug shipments between Columbia, Haiti, and the U.S. He was ordered held without bond and given an arraignment hearing scheduled for this Friday, January 13.

During Haitians November 20th elections, Guy Phillipe was elected Senator to the southern area of Grand Anse. After his arrest, police stations were attacked, buildings set on fire, and tires burned, in some of the communities that elected him.

Reactions by fellow lawmakers and politicians were split with some cruising it and others praising it.

Had Phillipe been sworn in as Senator, under the Haitian constitution, he would have received immunity from arrest or prosecution during his 6-year term in office.

In 2004 Guy Phillipe led the coup that took down then President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Both Haitian and U.S. authorities – including a secret U.S. mission by the Guantánamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba, have attempted to arrest him on several offenses for almost a decade, but he has always managed to elude capture.

Most recently he was being sought by Haitian authorities following an attack on a police headquarters, in which 6 people were killed.

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