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 >>
The tragedy of the Haitian earthquake has swept the globe drawing the entire civilized world into a giant wave of compassion and support. Before the quake, Haiti was a nation racked with poverty and rife with corruption. Since the quake, poverty has been replaced by destitution and corruption has morphed into anarchy. The world is reaching out but a lack of infrastructure and the complete collapse of the Haitian government have relief agencies frustrated. Even the awesome might of the United States military has not been enough to end the apocalyptic scale suffering of the people.
One of the chilling byproducts of the death and destruction in Haiti are scores of children, many now orphaned, wandering through the rubble trying to survive. Some of the children are being watched over by dazed, desperate parents who fear the relief efforts may not arrive in time to prevent their children from starving to death. Some offer their children to strangers hoping they can provide a means of escape from the unbelieveably horrible conditions.
Into this nightmare of chaos and confusion come ten middle-class Americans who left the comfort and safety of their homes and their families to try and make a difference. Led by Laura Silsby, who has been described by what may be the understatement of the year by her father, John Sander as “a touch naïve”, all ten are being held in a fetid cell by what is left of the Haitian government. All are charged with child abduction and criminal association, charges which carry jail terms of up to 15 years. It is entirely possible that their case won’t be heard for three months and then not in front of a jury but in front of a single judge. more >>
The American team of volunteers on trial for abduction charges related to 33 Haitian children had tried to take dozens of other children across the border, said a Haitian police officer.
A few days before their arrests, the ten volunteers attempted to take 40 children to the Dominican Republic, the officer, who requested not to be identified for fear of reprisals, told CNN on Monday. The officer thwarted the group's plan after he was alerted by a concerned citizen about the bus loaded with Haitian children.
Edwin Coq, the U.S. team’s former lawyer, said the officer testified about the earlier incident before the court last week. more >>
The head of a global ecumenical body praised a G7 decision to cancel Haiti’s debt, and urged other financial institutions to do the same.
In a letter Monday to the finance minister of Canada, the Rev. Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit, general secretary of the World Council of Churches, said he shared the same deep concern for the people affected by the devastating quake in Haiti and thus welcomes G7’s decision.
But he hopes that the debt cancellation does not stop with G7 nations, and that other countries and lending institutions will also be encouraged to forgive Haiti’s debt. more >>
While the New Orleans Saints’ Super Bowl win Sunday may have wiped away memories of the Gulf Coast hurricanes that hit their city five years ago, the mourning in Haiti – for many – still has no end in sight.
Nearly four weeks after Haiti’s 7.0-magnitude quake devastated the capital city of Port-au-Prince and the surrounding areas, life remains difficult for thousands in Haiti who are without food, shelter, and – most desired – the loved ones they’ve lost.
"Haiti is a nation in mourning," commented Sian Platt, child protection specialist for the Christian humanitarian agency World Vision. "People have not just lost homes, jobs and everything they own, they are somehow trying to come to terms with the death of those who loved and supported them.” more >>