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Tuesday, October 27, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Haiti frees missionary from Boise

Silsby convicted, sentenced to time already spent in jail

Laura Silsby leaves a courthouse in Port-au-Prince on Monday.  (Associated Press)
Laura Silsby leaves a courthouse in Port-au-Prince on Monday. (Associated Press)
Jonathan M. Katz Associated Press

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – The last of 10 Americans detained while trying to take 33 children out of Haiti after the Jan. 12 earthquake was freed Monday when a judge convicted her but sentenced her to time already served in jail.

Laura Silsby, the organizer of the ill-fated effort to take the children to an orphanage being set up in the neighboring Dominican Republic, returned to her cell briefly to retrieve belongings before quickly heading to the Port-au-Prince airport. “I’m praising God,” Silsby told the Associated Press as she waited for a flight out of Haiti.

The flight she was supposed to be on landed in Miami on Monday night, but waiting journalists couldn’t locate her.

The Idaho businesswoman had been in custody since Jan. 29. She was originally charged with kidnapping and criminal association, but those charges were dropped for her and the nine other Americans who were previously released.

Silsby was convicted of arranging illegal travel under a 1980 statute restricting movement out of Haiti signed by then-dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier.

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