Guy Philippe, former coup leader wanted by US, wins Haiti senate seat
The DEA’s decade-old arrest warrant accuses the rebel leader in 2004 coup d’état of cocaine trafficking and money laundering, charges Philippe has denied.Guy Philippe defeated all other candidates in second round of elections, held 20 November, for the south-western Grand Anse region. Photograph: Dieu Nalio Chery/AP
Reuters in Port-au-Prince
Monday 5 December 2016 17.20 EST
A former coup leader wanted by the US Drug Enforcement Administration for alleged cocaine trafficking and money laundering has won election to Haiti’s senate, according to preliminary results released by the electoral council.
Guy Philippe defeated all other candidates in the second round of elections, held on 20 November, for the south-western Grand Anse region, which is still recovering from the damage inflicted by Hurricane Matthew.
“Victory, thank you Grand Anse,” said a message posted on Philippe’s Facebook page late on Sunday. “My fellow compatriots, together we will accomplish and live a patriotic act of faith.”
In Haiti, losing candidates have a period in which to file complaints about the results. If Philippe’s win stands, he will take office for a six-year term early next year.
In 2004, the former police officer, who Human Rights Watch said had overseen unlawful killings, was a prominent figure in a coup d’état against President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
His election underscores political turmoil in impoverished Haiti, which is still struggling to establish democratic institutions more than 20 years after it threw off a dictatorship.
The DEA has a longstanding arrest warrant against Philippe and lists him as one of its most wanted fugitives, accusing him of conspiracy to import cocaine and launder monetary instruments. He has denied the accusations and said the US has no legal jurisdiction to make arrests in Haiti.
DEA agents backed by Haitian police made a failed bid to arrest Philippe in 2007. He was not at home when the agents showed up. A US embassy spokesman said it had no official position on Philippe’s electoral victory. The DEA was not immediately available for comment.