13 Feb 2010

Haitian judge favours release of missionaries

9:58 am on 13 February 2010

A judge in Haiti has ruled in favour of the release of 10 United States missionaries accused of kidnapping 33 children and trying to take them out of the country.

Judge Bernard Sainvil said on Thursday he had signed a request for the release of the prisoners and sent it to the prosecutor's office.

The missionaries have been held in jail since they were stopped at the border with the Dominican Republic on 29 January. They were trying to take the 33 children across the border.

The five men and five women, most of whom belong to the Baptist church in Idaho, have denied any intentional wrongdoing.

They said they were only trying to help orphans after the earthquake. However, most of the children still have living parents.