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Haiti Judge to Free Some Detained US Missionaries

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Associated Press: A Haitian judge said some of the 10 U.S. missionaries arrested on charges of child kidnapping would be released Wednesday, nearly three weeks after they were caught trying to take a group of children out of the quake-stricken country.

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Judge Bernard Saint-Vil would not specify how many people would be released, but said they would be allowed to return home without posting bail if they agreed to return to Haiti for any more questions in the pending investigation.

Saint-Vil, who had not yet issued a formal ruling, said he would await the prosecutor's opinion before announcing the names of those to be released.

"We expected that," said Gary Lissade, the attorney for American Jim Allen. It was unclear what would happen to any of the Americans the judge decides to hold.

Earlier Wednesday, one of the Americans, who is diabetic, was taken to a field hospital. Charisa Coulter of Boise, Idaho, briefly received treatment but was then taken back to jail. Neither her condition nor reason for the treatment was not immediately known.

And a lawyer for nine of the defendants, Aviol Fleurant, complained that Haitian police were restricting his visits to the Americans. "The lawyers are only being allowed in for three or five minutes," he said.

The missionaries, most from two Baptist churches in Idaho, are accused of trying to take 33 Haitian children to the Dominican Republic on Jan. 29 without proper documents.

They say they were on a humanitarian mission to rescue child quake victims by taking them to a hastily prepared orphanage in the Dominican Republic and have denied accusations of trafficking.

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