American Missionary Convicted in Haiti, Then Released From Prison

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Laura Silsby

REUTERS / Carlos Barria

American missionary Laura Silsby has just been convicted by a Haitian court of arranging to improperly transport 33 children out of the country.

But upon sentencing in Port-au-Prince, the judge sentenced the Idaho resident to time already served in jail. Silsby was released from custody and told she would now be allowed to leave the country.

It was a surprising end to a sordid ordeal, which began all the way back in January, shortly after the devastating earthquake leveled the nation’s capital. Silsby and nine other Americans were detained days later at Haiti’s border with the Dominican Republic.

All the other missionaries had been previously released, but Silsby faced charges of “arranging irregular travel” – a charge that could have resulted in a prison term of anywhere from six months to three years.