Haiti judge questions Americans accused of smuggling children

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Haiti's judicial authorities on Wednesday began questioning 10 Americans accused of illegally taking 33 children out of Haiti after the Jan. 12 earthquake.

Haitian Communication Minister Marie-Laurence Jocelyn Lassegue said that these Americans were being questioned by a Haitian judge to determine whether they will face trial in Haiti or in the United States.

The judge in charge of the case said that until now, they have not pressed any charges against these Americans who are members of a U.S. Baptist group and allegedly traveled to Port-au-Prince to help the victims of the earthquake.

But he added that due to the lack of conditions in Port-au-Prince to carry out a trial, the accused will probably be sent back to the United States and face trial there.

The 10 Americans were detained traveling aboard a bus with 33 Haitian children without documents. They were trying to cross the border into the Dominican Republic.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Wednesday it was regrettable that these U.S. citizens "took matters into their own hands."

"We are engaged in a discussion with the Haitian government about the appropriate disposition of their cases. They've been granted consular access," she said.

"We've been working through the questions the Haitian government has and we're looking for the best way forward ... We take this very seriously," the secretary of state said.

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