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Lawyer: Missionary leader to blame for kidnap case

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) - A defense lawyer says he blames the leader of ten Baptist missionaries facing kidnapping charges in Haiti.

Attorney Edwin Coq says Laura Silsby knew they couldn't take 33 children out of the country without the proper paperwork, while the other nine were unknowingly caught up in actions they didn't understand.

He says he'll do everything he can for the other nine, who he called "naive."

Family members of the Americans released a statement late yesterday saying they were concerned about their relatives jailed in a foreign country.

The Baptist group, most of whose members are from two Idaho churches, had said they were rescuing abandoned children and orphans by trying to taker them to the Dominican Republic.

But at least two-thirds of the children involved in the case have parents.

U.S. Ambassador Kenneth Merten says the "U.S. justice system cannot interfere."


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