Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Is Carla Bruni against a political comeback for Sarkozy?

Read more

DEBATE

Clone of Pakistan Protests: Democracy put the test (Part Two)

Read more

DEBATE

Pakistan Protests: Democracy put the test (Part One)

Read more

ENCORE!

The French Maestro of Soul

Read more

FOCUS

US tobacco giants want lion's share of e-cigarette business

Read more

ENCORE!

Bold and bonkers: Kate Bush is back on stage

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Simon Serfaty, US foreign policy specialist

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'It's a War, Stupid!'

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

French PM calls on ECB to go further to help economy

Read more

  • US military targets Somalia's al Shabaab Islamist group

    Read more

  • French education ministry picture sparks racist abuse

    Read more

  • UN backs Iraqi request for inquiry into IS militant crimes

    Read more

  • Obama calls for higher wages amid 'revving' US economy

    Read more

  • Video: Ukraine’s children return to school as fighting rages on

    Read more

  • Americans detained in North Korea call for US help

    Read more

  • US urges Israel to reverse West Bank land seizure

    Read more

  • Lesotho PM calls for regional peacekeeping force after ‘coup’

    Read more

  • Ukrainian forces retreat from Luhansk airport after clashes

    Read more

  • Teddy Riner, France’s unstoppable judo champion

    Read more

  • Death toll rises in Paris apartment building blast

    Read more

  • Iraqi forces free Amerli in biggest victory over IS militants since June

    Read more

  • French police arrest hungry hedgehog hunters

    Read more

  • Tripoli under control of militias, says government

    Read more

  • Monaco’s Falcao set for Man Utd loan on transfer deadline day

    Read more

  • Spain orders custody for parents of ill British boy

    Read more

Americas

US missionaries accused of kidnapping 'to be released'

Video by Christophe BAUER

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-02-11

Haitian Judge Bernard Saint-Vil may decide to release 10 US missionaries accused of kidnapping 33 Haitian children as early as Thursday, a judicial source told Reuters. The judge has reportedly decided the missionaries had 'no criminal intentions'.

REUTERS - A Haitian judge has decided to release 10 U.S. missionaries accused of kidnapping 33 children and trying to spirit them out of the earthquake- stricken country, a judicial source said on Wednesday.

The source said the missionaries, who have been in jail since they were stopped at Haiti’s border with the Dominican Republic on Jan. 29, could be released as early as Thursday.

"The order will be to release them," the source, who asked not to be named, told Reuters. The decision has not yet been made public.

"One thing an investigating judge seeks in a criminal investigation is criminal intentions on the part of the people involved and there is nothing that shows that criminal intention on the part of the Americans," the source said.

The missionaries, most of whom belong to an Idaho-based Baptist church, were arrested trying to take the children across the border to the Dominican Republic 17 days after a magnitude 7 earthquake that killed more than 200,000 people in the impoverished Caribbean nation.

The five men and five women have denied any intentional wrongdoing and said they were only trying to help orphans left destitute by the quake, which shattered the Haitian capital and left more than 1 million homeless. But evidence has come to light showing most of the children still had living parents.

As part of Haiti’s legal requirements, investigating Judge Bernard Sainvil must send a notice of his decision to the prosecutor. That will be done on Thursday, the source said.

Parents plead for release

Once he receives the order, the prosecutor could offer an opinion that one or more of the Americans should be held but that would have no legal effect on the judge’s decision, the source said.

During hearings in the case, Sainvil heard from 10 parents of children handed over to the Americans. They said they had turned over their children because they had no food or water to give them, and believed they would have a better life elsewhere.

"All of them pleaded for the release of the Americans," the source said.

The case has been a distraction to the Haitian government as it tries to cope with the aftermath of the earthquake and was diplomatically sensitive for the United States as it spearheads a massive international effort to feed and shelter Haitian quake survivors.

The U.S. government had said it was providing the Americans with consular access and monitoring their case, but made clear it did not want to interfere.

"Obviously this is a matter for the Haitian judicial system," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told reporters in Washington on Saturday.

Haiti’s beleaguered government had warned that unscrupulous traffickers could try to take advantage of the chaos that followed the quake by taking away vulnerable children, and it tightened adoption procedures.

Date created : 2010-02-11

  • HAITI

    10 US missionaries denied release from jail before kidnapping trial

    Read more

  • HAITI

    American missionaries charged with child kidnapping

    Read more

COMMENT(S)