Haiti judge orders release of eight US missionaries

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Port-au-Prince (Haiti), Feb.18 (ANI): A judge in Haiti has ordered the release of eight imprisoned American missionaries.

The missionaries were arrested in Haiti for child kidnapping.

Sky News quoted Judge Bernard Saint-Vil, as saying that the eight would be allowed to return home without posting bail, but added that they would have to agree to return to Haiti for any more questions in the pending investigation, if needed.

It was unclear what would happen to the two Americans the judge decided to hold.

One of the Americans - Charisa Coulter - who is diabetic, has been taken to a field hospital. Her condition is not known.

Earlier, a lawyer for nine of the defendants, Aviol Fleurant, complained that Haitian police were restricting his visits to the Americans.

"The lawyers are only being allowed in for three or five minutes," he said.

The missionaries, most from two Baptist churches in Idaho, are accused of trying to take 33 Haitian children to the Dominican Republic.

They say they were on a humanitarian mission to rescue child quake victims by taking them to a hastily prepared orphanage.

They have denied accusations of trafficking. Group leader Laura Silsby originally said they were taking only orphaned and abandoned children.

But reporters found that several of the children were handed over to the group - willingly - by their parents. (ANI)

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