Power outages delay Haiti decision on Americans

  • Mon Feb 15th, 2010 4:50pm
  • News

Associated Press

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Haiti’s creaky, quake-damaged electrical system apparently delayed today a judge’s decision 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 today kept him from printing it out and delivering it.

“I have made my decision,” he said. “What is blocking me now is the electricity.” Power has only been restored to about one-fifth of Port-au-Prince.

But even before the earthquake only one in four Haitians had power and, on average, any given capital neighborhood only had 10 hours of power a day.

Because Tuesday is a national holiday — Mardi Gras — Louis said he did not expect the judge to issue a decision until Wednesday 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 on Thursday that 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 only wanted to help children after the Jan. 12 earthquake.