Despite news on the contrary, the Haitian judge overseeing the case of the ten American volunteers who tried to take children out of the country said Monday that all charges remain standing.
Judge Bernard Saint-Vil said he did not make any decision yet to drop charges for any of the U.S. Christian volunteers. He said he is still considering the case of the group’s leader, Laura Silsby, who is still being held in Port-au-Prince, and the nine other Americans who were released on condition they return to Haiti if further questioning was needed.
Saint-Vil’s statement contradicts that of Idaho Sen. Jim Risch. He said though a spokesman last week that the State Department informed him that Haiti had dropped all charges against nine of the volunteers, most of whom are residents in Idaho.
The ten U.S. volunteers were arrested in January while trying to take 33 Haitian children across the border to an orphanage in the Dominican Republic. They were jailed in Port-au-Prince and charged with child kidnapping and criminal association.
Haiti said the team did not have government permission to take children out of the country, raising concerns of human trafficking.
In February, eight of the volunteers were conditionally released and the ninth was freed in March. Silsby is still being held for further investigation over previous trips to Haiti and an earlier attempt to take dozens of children to the Dominican Republic.
The Haitian judge has until early May to make a decision on whether to release Silsby or order a trial.