Finding no malevolent intentions, a Haitian judge has apparently decided to release the 10 Baptists who have been at the center of so much furor, Reuters reported Wednesday afternoon. The report was based upon disclosures by an unnamed "judicial source:"
"One thing an investigating judge seeks in a criminal investigation is criminal intentions on the part of the people involved, and there is nothing that shows that criminal intention here," the source said.
That seems fair, and will give us all time to wonder why top Southern Baptist Convention officials seemed to be more concerned about the denomination's image than about either the missionaries themselves or about the Haitian children whose protection is and was the objective of Haiti's legal system in this case.
Bear in mind that the 10 Southern Baptists were arrested out of a legitimate Haitian concern with child trafficking. Specifically, the U.S. State Department issued a cautionary statement on Jan. 26 which said:
In the aftermath of a crisis such as the Haiti earthquake, children are especially vulnerable; and there is increased potential for abuse of, and trafficking in, children. The United States remains committed to working with the Government of Haiti to implement safeguards to protect children and their families in Haiti.
Update: Thursday afternoon
Later, Saint-Vil said he would recommend provisional freedom for the detainees while the investigation continues. But it wasn't clear whether their possible release means they would be allowed to leave Haiti, or what implications the judge's decision could have on whether the charges may be dropped.