American Morning

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February 18th, 2010
06:00 AM ET

8 freed by Haitian judge arrive in Florida

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Missionaries (L-R) Corinna Lankford, Carla Thompson, Drew Culberth, Steve McMullen and Paul Thompson arrive at Miami International Airport February 17, 2010."]

Miami, Florida (CNN) - Eight U.S. missionaries who were detained for almost three weeks in Haiti on child kidnapping charges arrived in Miami, Florida, late Wednesday night after a judge ordered them freed.

The group arrived at Miami International Airport on a U.S. Air Force C-130 cargo plane from the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince.

"It feels great for him to be back from Haiti," said Hiram Sasser, who represents one of the men, Jim Allen. "It's great that the attention will return to where it should be back on the people of Haiti."

The freed Americans were among 10 charged with kidnapping and criminal association for trying to take 33 children out of Haiti after a magnitude-7.0 earthquake devastated the impoverished country on January 12.

The group said it was trying to help the children get to a safe place and wanted to establish an orphanage in the Dominican Republic. The eight were released without the need to post bond.

Lawyer Gary Lissade, who also represents Allen, said the fact that the judge was releasing the Americans on their own recognizance may indicate that the charges will be eventually dropped. FULL STORY

Filed under: Haiti • World
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