Haiti frees American missionaries accused of kidnapping and murder

Haiti has freed two of the six American missionaries arrested in the country with one of them on criminal charges for their role in a kidnapping plot, the Associated Press reports. Both Terrance and Carl Kwiatkowski were sentenced to one year in prison for their role in leading the group of 19 people aboard a fishing boat that allegedly intended to take them to Saint-Marc, one of Haiti’s most dangerous cities.

On Thursday, August 4, 2015, Brandon Stanfield, Andrew Boutwell, Ronald Chartres, Vanessa Branam, Vanessa Lambert, Armonie Garcia, Faycal Aimé, Harley Gibson, David Pittman, Franklin McGowan, Bob Piccinini, and Raquel Rawls were picked up on an emergency landing after they left a Christmas-season tour. They were planning to travel from Port-au-Prince to a secluded island in the central peninsula. However, when authorities arrived on the scene they found the group had been a part of an abduction plot. They were quickly taken into custody.

During the trial, a Haitian court cited a statement that Terrance Kwiatkowski admitted to making, in which he admitted to taking part in a scheme to secure a vacation spot for himself and his two brothers and then of kidnapping 14 people, which ended in the death of one who was killed in a shootout with the police. Reportedly, a clip from the Kabarak mini-movie, a genre of action and adventure films produced in Haiti, is known to be part of the evidence supporting the government’s case against the missionaries.

The defendants requested, in a plea bargain, that they be sentenced to six months in prison and six more months on house arrest. A Haitian official declined to comment on the case or the prosecution’s hopes of getting Terrance and Carl Kwiatkowski extradited to the United States.

Read the full story at The Guardian.


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