Haiti set to free two American missionaries

Two Americans charged with
kidnapping children following Haiti’s devastating earthquake will be released
by Thursday at the latest, said one of their lawyers, Aviol Fleurant.

The announcement was made after the
judge in Haiti ruled the case would be closed by the end of this week because
there were no criminal grounds to pursue it.

Laura Silsby and Charisa Coulter
were the last of 10 members of a Baptist missionary group still in Haitian
custody over an attempt to take 33 children to the neighbouring Dominican
Republic without government permission.

Fleurant said Silsby and Coulter
were questioned Tuesday at the prosecutors’ office in the presence of a U.S.
consular official and a representative from a Haitian human-rights organization.

The other eight Americans charged
in the case were released a week ago and returned home.

All 10 Americans were arrested 29
January as they sought to take a busload of children across the border into the
Dominican Republic. The Baptist missionaries from the New Life Children’s
Refuge sought to take the children without government authorization.

They at first presented the kids as
quake orphans but it quickly emerged that many of the children still had
parents alive, who agreed to the kids being moved.