Turkish authorities have issued a 40-day temporary custody order for Samir Handal, a “suspect of great interest” in the July 7 assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moise.

The suspect, businessman Samir Handal, was detained at Istanbul Airport.
The suspect, businessman Samir Handal, was detained at Istanbul Airport. (Istanbul Security Directorate / AA)

Turkish authorities have detained man considered a suspect of "great interest" in the July assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moise.

The suspect, businessman Samir Handal, was detained at Istanbul Airport early on Monday where he arrived in transit from the United States to Jordan. 

His arrest was announced by Haiti's Foreign Minister Claude Joseph later on Monday.

"I just had a phone conversation with the Turkish Minister, my friend Mevlut Cavusoglu, to thank Turkey for the arrest of Samir Handal, one of the persons of great interest in the investigation into the assassination of the president," Joseph said on Twitter.

Anadolu Agency said Handal was wanted on an Interpol notice and detained by airport police on arrival in Istanbul. 

He was later questioned by court officials who issued the 40-day temporary custody order which was requested by Turkey’s Justice Ministry, the report said.

He is currently in Istanbul’s Maltepe prison, the agency reported.

Handal has been mentioned as a suspect in the plot to kill the Haitian president, although the government has not given any specifics about his alleged involvement.

More than 40 suspects have been arrested so far in the presidential slaying, including 18 former Colombian soldiers and several Haitian police officers. 

Colombian authorities have said the majority of its former soldiers did not know the true nature of the operation they were hired to participate in.

In October, another Colombian man was arrested in Jamaica.

The 53-year-old former businessman Moise, who took office in 2017, was shot dead at his private residence and his wife was wounded in the attack.

READ MORE: Who's behind the assassination of the Haitian president?

Source: Reuters