A Haitian judge on Wednesday freed eight American volunteers, who attempted to take children out of the country, and said they can leave the country immediately. Two, however, remain in jail.
The Americans were freed on bail but they will not be required to post bond to leave, a lawyer involved in the case told CNN. Authorities will continue to investigate the case after the church volunteers return to the United States.
In late January, a group of ten American Christians were arrested while trying to transport a bus with 33 Haitian children to the Dominican Republic. The group says it was taking the children to an orphanage in the neighboring country where the children would be cared for and educated. Members said they were motivated by love and concern for the children after a massive earthquake devastated Port-au-Prince. more >>
The Dominican legal adviser to the ten American Baptist volunteers facing charges of child kidnapping in Haiti is himself wanted in El Salvador on charges of human trafficking and in the United States for human smuggling.
Jorge Torres Puello, who was hired by the families of the Americans for legal advice, is accused of operating an international sex trafficking ring using women and girls from the Caribbean and Central America. He allegedly lured girls by promising modeling contracts but instead made them work as prostitutes.
An international arrest warrant was issued Saturday for Puello on sex-trafficking charges. more >>
American charities have contributed more than $709 million to aid quake-stricken Haiti.
Some of the largest gifts from the U.S. came through the American Red Cross ($271 million), Catholic Relief Services ($37.3 million), the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund ($40 million), Doctors Without Borders ($43.5 million), U.S. Fund for UNICEF ($44.7 million), and World Vision ($24.7 million), the Chronicle of Philanthropy reported.
It's been one month since the 7.0-magnitude earthquake turned much of the Caribbean nation into rubble. Amid the chaos and grief, Haitians stopped on Friday to mourn the losses, including the deaths of more than 200,000 people. The nation observed a moment of silence at 4:53 p.m., the time the earthquake struck on Jan. 12. more >>
Haitians are fasting and taking part in prayer vigils to mark one month since a devastating earthquake struck the Caribbean nation on January 12.
As the Haiti government revised the death toll from last month's earthquake to at least 217,000, Friday was declared a day of mourning.
According to the results of a new World Vision survey, 92 percent of survivors in devastated capital Port-au-Prince have lost a loved one. more >>
Some of the American Baptist volunteers faced with charges of child kidnapping may be freed as early as Thursday, sources say.
The Haitian judge overseeing the case is expected to rule mid-afternoon on whether to release the ten Americans who attempted to transport 33 Haitian children to the Dominican Republic without permission.
Though the judge’s ruling cannot be confirmed, Reuters and CNN sources familiar with the case have said the judge might release two volunteers Thursday and six more next week. The last two members would remain in jail, according to the account. more >>
Thousands of Americans are waiting to hear an update on whether the children they sponsor in Haiti were affected by the massive earthquake.
"I am praying and waiting to hear if my child’s family was affected or not. She lives in St. Marc," Dawn Higley commented on the Compassion International website.
Compassion International, a Christian child advocacy ministry, is currently in the tedious process of locating all of their children and providing each sponsor with a complete picture of how each person has or has not been affected by the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that struck the Caribbean island last month. more >>