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Outage stalls decision on 10 charged with kidnapping

Associated Press / February 16, 2010

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PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti - Haiti’s creaky, quake-damaged electrical system apparently delayed a judge’s decision yesterday on whether to release 10 Americans charged with child kidnapping.

Prosecutor Josephe Manes Louis said he completed his recommendation to the judge, as the law requires, but that a power outage yesterday kept him from printing it out and delivering it.

Power has been restored to about one-fifth of Port-au-Prince. But even before the earthquake only 1 in 4 Haitians had power and, on average, any given capital neighborhood had just 10 hours of power a day.

Because today is a national holiday, Mardi Gras, Louis said he did not expect the judge to issue a decision until tomorrow morning.

Neither Louis nor Judge Bernard Saint-Vil would say whether a provisional release would allow the group to leave the country while an investigation continues.

Saint-Vil said Thursday he would recommend the Americans be granted provisional release. He said he accepted the defense argument that the Americans, who said they were setting up an orphanage across the border in the Dominican Republic, had good intentions.

The Americans were arrested on Jan. 29 trying to take 33 children out of Haiti. They say they were on humanitarian mission and wanted to help children after the Jan. 12 earthquake.