In Haiti, Americans' attorney says they had papers - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

In Haiti, Americans' attorney says they had papers

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(Jorge Puello, the group's lawyer from the Dominican Republic,
said the group is sleeping on the floor in the jail and there is no
ventilation.)

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti. - The new attorney for 10 Americans charged with child kidnapping in Haiti says the group had authorization to take the children.
     
Aviol Fluerant tells reporters that parents gave their kids to the Baptists in good faith.
     
He adds that the group had papers authorizing the children to be taken across the Dominican border. It was not immediately clear Monday who may have given authorization.
     
The group's original lawyer, Edwin Coq, was fired over the weekend after he asked for $60,000 to use to bribe the missionaries' way out of jail. Coq denies that. He says the amount was the fee for his legal work.
     
The Americans have been charged with child kidnapping and criminal association for trying to take 33 children out of earthquake-ravaged Haiti.

They say they were on a humanitarian mission to rescue orphans, but it turned out that at least 20 of the children have living parents.

Some Haitians said they had given the children to the group because the missionaries had promised to educate them at an orphanage in the Dominican Republic and said they would allow their parents to visit.

The Dominican Consul in Haiti has said he had warned group leader, Laura Silsby, that she lacked the required papers and risked being arrested for child trafficking.

Meanwhile, the group's lawyer from the Dominican Republic, Jorge Puello, admitted Sunday that the biggest challenge the ten face is the Haitian court system in which the accused are assumed guilty and they must prove their innocence.

Five of the ten Americans detained in Haiti on kidnapping charges left jail Monday to see a Haitian judge.

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