Dimitri Herard, who is the head of the General Security Unit of the National Palace, had been questioned at the Inspector General’s office on Wednesday, then transferred to a police station in Port-au-Prince, according to associate Carl Martin, who said he is coordinating Herard’s legal defense team.
When Herard asked the police why he was being held for the night, he was told the decision “came from above,” said Martin, who spoke with Herard on Wednesday evening. He added that police have taken away Herard’s guns and cell phone, and that they had spoken through another police officer’s phone.
The Haitian National Police have not responded to CNN’s request for comment.
Earlier on Wednesday, Herard did not appear for a court inquiry ordered by the Port-au-Prince public prosecutor, citing a mandatory appearance at the Inspector General’s office.
“I have the honor to inform you, following the invitation sent to me by the public prosecutor’s office of Port au-Prince. I am currently under a precautionary measure ordered by the General Inspectorate of the Haitian Police. As a result, I am not available to comply with the request of the public prosecutor,” he said in a letter to the public prosecutor that CNN has seen.
“While I am willing to respond once this protective measure expires, I respectfully request a stay of execution from your office for this purpose as may be required,” he added.
Martin told CNN that Moise had a large security detail, and that Herard’s unit contained a number of officers, but “he’s the only person that’s being held in that fashion.” The chain of command “does not stop at Dimitri,” he added.
Herard hopes for “a fair chance at a fair investigation” now that international agencies including Interpol and the FBI are involved, Martin said, adding, “His job is political. He has a lot of political opponents.”
Martin said the police had initially placed Herard in ‘isolation” for a very short period, for safety reasons.
On Wednesday, a statement on the first lady’s verified Twitter account thanked the “guardian angels who helped me through this terrible time,” accompanied by a picture that appeared to show her in a hospital bed. CNN has not been able to independently confirm the authenticity of the post.
Authorities say the operation involved at least 26 Colombians, some former members of the Colombian military, hired through a Florida-based security company.
But several people, including relatives of Colombian suspects, told CNN the accusations against the men do not add up.
“They only mentioned a company based in the US, and a job as private security in Haiti. Security for the President of Haiti, who was believed to be under death threat,” Gutierrez said.
“It was all a plot,” he added. “How can you have this type of assassination and not have a single dead but the President himself? If my fellows had done the job, they would have had to enter the residence and kill the guards before killing the President. You would have seen a combat scene.”
CNN has tried repeatedly to contact the Florida company, CTU Security, since Saturday. Colombian police say they are working with Interpol to provide information on its owner, a Venezuelan man.
Sanon has repeatedly emphasized that “he doesn’t know anything at all,” according to a source close to the investigation who cannot be named because they are not authorized to discuss the affair. Police have not announced any formal charges against Sanon, and it is not yet clear if Sanon has retained legal representation to address the charges. CNN was not able to reach him for comment.
The US has sent senior FBI and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) agents to assist in the investigation, and the government is still evaluating requests for assistance from the Haitian government, said State Department spokesperson Ned Price on Tuesday.