Pastor: Arrest of missionaries a misunderstanding - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Pastor: Arrest of missionaries a misunderstanding

















(A judge is said to be questioning the men in the group
(above) on Wednesday)


ATLANTA, Ga. - A pastor who says he gave 10 U.S. Baptist missionaries permission to move a busload of Haitian children to the Dominican Republic says the group acted "with a good heart."
     
However, he says they didn't complete the required paperwork.

The missionaries were later arrested after Haitian authorities said they tried crossing the border without documents.
     
Pastor Jean Sainvil told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the missionaries had approval from the parents of children who were not orphaned. He called the arrests a misunderstanding.
     
Sainvil says he was an adviser to the Idaho-based New Life Children's Refuge because he spoke fluent French Creole and Spanish and had knowledge of Haiti.
     
The pastor says he was not with the missionaries when they were arrested because he was ill.

Previous Coverage
Detained Americans questioned by Haitian judge

(February 2, 2010)

Ten Americans arrested in Haiti while trying to bring a busload of children across the border are being questioned by a judge.
     
The investigating magistrate queried the women for several hours Tuesday and will follow up with the men on Wednesday, according to the Haiti's communications minister. No lawyers were present, and the Americans have yet to be charged.
     
Minister Marie-Laurence Jocelyn Lassegue says the evidence will be presented to a Haitian district attorney to decide whether to file charges.
     
The Baptists from Idaho say they were only trying to help orphans survive the earthquake. But legal experts say taking children across a border without documents or government permission can be considered child trafficking.

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