On Thursday, May 13, the first day of court proceedings, Haitian prosecutor Sonel Jean-Francois requested a six-month prison sentence for Laura Silsby, the only remaining American missionary detained in Haiti on kidnapping charges. Ten Americans, most of them Baptists from Idaho, came to Haiti soon after the January 12 earthquake and maintained they were on a charity mission. However, police arrested them as they attempted to take 33 children out of the country without permission. The Americans claimed the children in question were orphans, but it was revealed all of the children had at least one living parent. Officials have since released nine of the detainees while the tenth, Laura Silsby, has been in custody since January.
Silsby maintains she was trying to take the children to an orphanage she was building in the neighboring Dominican Republic. According to MSNBC, after Silsby testified she “spent much of the rest of the session reading the Bible…. Prosecutors also asked for six months in prison for Jean Sainvil, an Atlanta-based pastor born in Haiti who allegedly helped find the children for the missionaries. He is not in Haiti and is being tried in absentia.” According to CNN, Silsby’s attorney, Chiller Roy, “said the judge is expected to make a ruling in the next few days.” To read more, click here.
Ethics and Religion
By G. Scott Davis , University of Richmond
(Vol. 3, October 2008)
Intolerance and American Religious History
By Lynn S. Neal , Wake Forest University
(Vol. 5, February 2010)