Haitian judge released eight of the jailed Baptists: They spent last night in Miami
Haitian Judge Bernard Saint-Vil released eight of the 10 U.S. Baptists who were “charged with child kidnapping” after they were stopped while trying to take more than 30 Haitian children across the border into the Dominican Republic in the wake of last month’s earthquake.
The judge ruled eight can be released on bail and will be allowed to leave the country. But the leader of the group, Laura Silsby, and another woman, Charisa Coulter, will not be released on bail and it is reported they will still face charges.
Upon entering court today the judge said, according to Reuters:
I have already prepared the draft to order the release of eight of the Americans today, but as far as Mrs Silsby and Mrs Coulter are concerned, I need to ask some further questions. Actually I am considering hearing them as early as tomorrow.
The US nationals, set free by Judge Bernard Saint-Vil, were placed in a van with diplomatic plates and driven out of the compound where they had been held since their arrest January 29.
The group was whisked into the Port-au-Prince airport, but when asked if they would stay overnight in Haiti, the group’s lawyer Aviol Fleurant said, “I think so.”
The eight left Haiti aboard a U.S. Air Force C-130 cargo plane and deplaned in Miami at about midnight last night. Frank James of National Public Radio reported:
Eight Baptist missionaries spent their first night of freedom in three weeks in a Miami hotel after a Haitian judge released them from jail where they were being held on suspicion of child trafficking for trying to transport Haitian children out of the country without the proper authorization.
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