Ten US missionaries charged with child kidnapping in Haiti

Friday, February 5, 2010

Ten United States missionaries who tried to take 33 Haitian children out the country last week without the government’s consent have been charged with child kidnapping and criminal association for illegally trying to take children out of Haiti. Their claimed intention was to move the quake victims to a temporary orphanage being set up at a hotel-resort in the neighbouring Dominican Republic. Police said the Americans did not have paperwork, nor permissions, to remove the children from the country. If convicted the Americans could face prison terms of up to fifteen years. Reuters reported that all ten acknowledged they had violated the law when they tried to take the children from Haiti, but denied they were aware of this breach of law until after their detention.

Haiti's justice minister, Paul Denis, stated he saw no reason why the missionaries should be tried in the US. "It is Haitian law that has been violated," he 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."