Sunday, February 7, 2010

VIDEO:Americans Jailed in Haiti Send Disturbing Message *FIXED*

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AOL News / AP -- Eight of the 10 U.S. Baptist missionaries charged with child kidnapping in Haiti are pleading for help in a letter one of them slipped to a journalist through prison bars.

"We fear for our lives Here in Haiti," said the letter, which was signed by everyone in the Idaho church group except spokeswoman Laura Silsby, and her close aide, Charisa Coulter.

The arrested Americans covertly passed the note to an NBC News producer during a jailhouse interview on Saturday.

Also written on the scrap of paper was: "Please you must listen. We have No Way to Call. Court will NOT let us have a say with anything about trust for US. We only came as volunteers. We had NOTHING to do with any documents and have been lied to."

An investigating judge charged the Americans on Thursday with kidnapping for trying to take 33 children across the border into the Dominican Republic on Jan. 29 without documentation

The Baptist group, most of whose members are from two Idaho churches, had said they were rescuing abandoned children and orphans from the nation. UNICEF says that 380,000 youngsters fit that description even before the quake.

Silsby said she believed she had all the necessary documents to take the children.

But details have emerged that may prove otherwise.

The Dominican consul in Haiti said he warned Silsby her mission would be considered child trafficking if she lacked adoption papers signed by Haitian officials.

And the group's Haitian defense attorney, Edwin Coq, said Silsby knew the group couldn't remove the youngsters without proper paperwork. He characterized the other nine missionaries as unknowingly being caught up in actions they didn't understand.

Coq has now been accused of trying to bribe the missionaries' way out of jail and has been fired, the attorney who hired him said Saturday night.

Coq denied the allegation. He said the $60,000 he requested from the Americans' families was his fee.

Jorge Puello, the attorney in the neighboring Dominican Republic retained by relatives of the 10 American missionaries after their arrest last week, told The Associated Press that he fired Coq on Friday night. He had hired Coq to represent the detainees at Haitian legal proceedings.

Coq orchestrated "some kind of extortion with government officials" that would have led to the release of nine of the 10 missionaries, Puello charged.

Source: AOL

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