Haiti Seeks 6 Months for US Missionary

Alleged child-grabber Laura Silsby on trial
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 14, 2010 4:06 AM CDT
Haiti Seeks 6 Months for US Missionary
Laura Silsby, center, was the only person to testify at the trial yesterday. The next court session will be next week.   (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)

(Newser) – Baptist missionary Laura Silsby knew she was breaking the law when she tried to take 33 children out of Haiti, and she deserves to spend at least 6 months in jail, the prosecutor said as her trial began yesterday. The Idaho woman testified that she genuinely believed that the children—all of whom were later found to have at least one living parent—had been orphaned by January's earthquake, AP reports.

"One week after the earthquake I left my family and my home to help children that had been orphaned in the earthquake," Silsby told the court. "We came here with a heart to help." The charges against her have been downgraded from kidnapping to arranging illegal travel, a charge which carries a maximum sentence of 6 months. Silsby has been in jail since January, and time served will count toward her sentence if she is found guilty.
(Read more Americans detained Haiti stories.)

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