Haiti judge frees 8 of 10 American missionaries - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Haiti judge frees 8 of 10 American missionaries

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PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti. - Eight American missionaries have been freed from a Haitian jail, nearly three weeks after being charged with child kidnapping for trying to take a group of children out of the quake-stricken country.
     
Looking bedraggled and sweat-soaked, the eight walked out of the jail just after dusk Wednesday escorted by U.S. diplomats. They waited until they were safely inside a white van before flashing smiles and giving a thumbs up to reporters.
     
Hours earlier, judge Bernard Saint-Vil told The Associated Press that eight of the 10 missionaries were free to leave without bail or other conditions after parents testified they voluntarily handed their children over to the missionaries. He says he still wants to question group leader Laura Silsby and Charisa Coulter about their visit to Haiti in December before the earthquake.
     
Defense attorney Aviol Fleurant said the group will be flying out of Haiti Wednesday night. Their destination was not immediately known. Reporters were denied access to the Port-au-Prince airport tarmac where the released detainees were taken.

Jailed American taken to hospital

One of the jailed Americans accused of child kidnapping in Haiti has been taken to the hospital.
     
Police brought Charisa Coulter of Boise, Idaho, to a field hospital Wednesday.
     
Coulter is a diabetic and has received medical treatment since her arrest last month. Her condition was not immediately known.
     
She is one of 10 Americans being held after they tried to take a group of Haitian children out of the earthquake-stricken country.
     
Defense attorney Aviol Fleurant says the prosecutor is printing out his recommendation on whether to free the defendants but he hasn't handed it to the judge yet.
     
Fleurant also says the Haitian authorities are restricting his visits to the Americans.

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