NEWS: New Development in Case of Americans Held in Haiti

There is a new development in the case of the detained Americans in Haiti charged with kidnapping. Ten Americans, most of them Baptists from Idaho, came to Haiti soon after the January 12 earthquake and maintain they were on a charity mission. However, police arrested them as they attempted to take 33 children out of the country without permission. The Baptists claimed the children in question were orphans, but many of the children later said they had parents.

Now, Haitian officials have learned that the legal adviser to the detained Americans, Jorge Puello, is suspected of trafficking Caribbean and Central American girls in El Salvador. Puello, a Dominican who says Idaho’s Central Valley Baptist Church hired him to provide legal counsel and act as spokesperson, maintains this is a case of mistaken identity and that he has no involvement with the criminal activity in El Salvador. According to the New York Times, “Mr. Puello said in the interview that he had been representing the Americans free of charge because he was a religious man who commiserated with their situation. ‘I’m president of the Sephardic Jewish community in the Dominican Republic,’ he said. ‘I help people in this kind of situation.’” However, “the report said the police had found documents connected to the Sephardic Jewish community in a house in San Salvador where the traffickers had held women.” To read more, click here and here.

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