Monday, April 19, 2010

Kidnapping charges dropped for Americans jailed in Haiti

You might remember the story of the Americans who were jailed in Haiti shortly after the earthquake. Ten people from Idaho were accused of smuggling children out of the country without the proper paperwork, some of the children still have a surviving parent. It was announced over the weekend that eight of the Americans have been released, however the leader of the group is still jailed in Haiti.

From the Christian Today, writer Nathan Black gives us some background and reaction.

Pastor Clint Henry of Meridian’s Central Valley Baptist Church welcomed the news.

"We knew that we were innocent so this is what we were expecting to happen. We hoped it would happen much quicker but praise God that has come," he said, according to Idaho's News Channel 7.

Though celebratory, Henry and the nine volunteers are in prayer for Laura Silsby, the leader of the team who remains jailed in Haiti.

The group – most of whom are from two Baptist churches in Idaho – attempted to take 33 Haitian children to an orphanage they were setting up in the Dominican Republic early this year. They were arrested and charged with child kidnapping and criminal association.

The volunteers say they simply wanted to help the Haitian children who lost their parents after the massive earthquake devastated Port-au-Prince in January. Complications, however, arose when the team was found without the proper paperwork and when it was discovered that many of the children they tried to transport had at least one living parent.

Most of the volunteers were released in February after being detained in Haiti for weeks. The ninth team member, Charisa Coulter, arrived home in Idaho last month. They were allowed to return to their homes in the US on the condition that they promise to return if needed as investigators continued to examine the case.

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