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10 Americans charged with kidnapping in Haiti

Last Updated: 10:12 AM, February 5, 2010

Posted: 4:15 AM, February 5, 2010

Comments: 47
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PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Ten American missionaries were charged Thursday in quake-hit Haiti with child abduction and criminal conspiracy, but should not be sent for trial in the United States, officials said.

"It is Haitian law that has been violated," Justice Minister Paul Denis told AFP. "It is up to the Haitian authorities to hear and judge the case. I don't see any reason why they should be tried in the United States."

The group of five men and five women from an Idaho-based charity were detained on Friday after trying to drive a bus-load of 33 children over the border into the Dominican Republic.

They were formally charged with "kidnapping minors and criminal association" on Thursday according to their lawyer Edwin Coq.

The group could now face nine years in prison on child kidnapping charges and further jail time for conspiracy.

The group has denied any ill intentions, saying they were merely trying to help children orphaned and abandoned by the January 12 quake.

But amid continued chaos in the Haitian capital, the head of Port-au-Prince lawyers' association, Gervais Charles, said any trial would be impossible in the country any time soon.

"It is absolutely impossible to carry out the trial for the Americans in Haiti right now. Judicial proceedings have not officially restarted in Port-au-Prince," he said.

Earlier government prosecutor Mazan Fortil said it was not yet clear if the 10 could be tried in the Haiti.

"We cannot say right now. We have to apply Haitian law. The case will be sent before a judicial panel, to open the investigation," he said.

"Everyone who is accused should have the right to a hearing within a reasonable period. I don't see how the Haitian judicial system could guarantee that, especially in such a complex case."

But with tens of thousands of children still homeless on the streets of Port-au-Prince, the government is under pressure to clamp down on potential abuse.

The UN Children's fund has warned that displaced children are in "significant" danger of being sold into slave-like conditions, trafficked or illegally adopted.

UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Hilde Frafjord Johnson also said the 7.0-magnitude quake had presented the agency with its biggest challenge.

"The risks of child trafficking, children being sold to slavery-like conditions or illegally adopted... are significant," she said.

"As for the number of unaccompanied children, as the situation is unfolding this is the biggest... child protection crisis we've seen," she added.

About 40 percent of children were already living in great poverty and some 300,000 were living in orphanages before last month's quake crippled life in the capital Port-au-Prince and surrounding area, UNICEF said.

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Comments (42)

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  • Report Abuse

    irish

    02/05/2010 10:13 PM

    Chasaltz,excellent comments.But useless Hillary,and even more useless Obama,dont have the bal*s to do the right thing.(just like Bill was afraid to let the CIA take out Bin-laden in the late 90s)Obama talks about being bi-patisan,now that he is in charge.When that jerk was a Senator,he voted against every bill put in front of him,if it was written,or favored by the Republicans.Tough sh*t for u now Obama,payback is a bitc*.Let's be bi-partisan as long as their is a Dem.in the White House.*uck u Obama!!!!,and the horse u rode in on. Friends come and go,but enemies last forever.U are a 1 term lame duck Pres.

  • Report Abuse

    Chasalz

    02/05/2010 6:33 PM

    I am dismayed at the number of obvious left wing idiots who are condemning these 10 Baptist folks who did admittedly a stupid thing in trying to move the kids without paperwork. However, I wonder how much of a government exists in Haiti to provide any sort of government functions.

    I believe our emperor (O) and the queen (H) should lay it out on the line to this God forsaken s***t h***le of a country that these folks are to be released IMMEDIATELY or our aid will stop IMMEDIATELY.

  • Report Abuse

    CTF

    02/05/2010 2:45 PM

    Come on, these people are not human traffikers. they did something stupid,but this is no reason to keep them locked up. This is a poke in the eye of the US.Where is Hillary when we need her?

  • Report Abuse

    Who Cares?

    02/05/2010 10:28 AM

    They are from Idaho, but I cant believe that these 'missionaries' were that gullible to think that they could just stroll into a foriegn country, pick up 30 kids off the street and take them to another country with out approval. Some of these kids still have parents and were crying and telling them they were not orpans. So lets those people face the consequences. Having an American passport does not give you a right to do whatever you please abroad.

  • Report Abuse

    DaddyO125

    02/05/2010 9:33 AM

    HEY, IRISH :::

    THANK YOU...BUT DO'NT BOTHER...

    THIS COWARDLY MOB WILL NOT EVER LISTEN...

  • Report Abuse

    truth

    02/05/2010 8:47 AM

    Make a CHAIN GANG and have them rebuild all the busted orphanages and dig foundations for new ones. By the time they finish the infrastructure the courts system will be rebuilt and they can be tried at that time - if the jails and courts haven't been rebuilt - that's ok they can rebuild them aswell.
    They can't complain - they claim to be genuine charity workers.??

  • Report Abuse

    nyc stinks

    02/05/2010 7:05 AM

    This is a bad situation but this is not americas problem. We have enough americans that need help. Why does'nt Obummer give the 100 mil to americans that have lost there jobs. we do not need more money sucking illegals here to get free stuff. I do feel bad for them but where was the help for us from the international community after Katrina. No one helps us but we are the first to jump right in without a life preserver during any and all disasters abroad. Wake up people. We need jobs and money here. Buy american and stop supporting china as much as possible.

  • Report Abuse

    las5513

    02/05/2010 3:24 AM

    The Baptists have always been a problem in all walks of life.

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