Wednesday, Feb 01, 2023

US charges Haitian man for role in missionary kidnappings

US charges Haitian man for role in missionary kidnappings

US Department of Justice says Jean Pelice, alleged member of Haiti’s 400 Mawozo gang, was involved in October abductions.

The United States has charged a Haitian man with hostage-taking for his alleged role in the kidnapping of 16 American missionaries near Port-au-Prince last year, the US Department of Justice said.

In a statement on Thursday, the department accused Jean Pelice, also known as “Zo”, an alleged member of the 400 Mawozo gang, of taking part in the kidnapping of the Christian missionaries on October 16, 2021.

“Pelice, along with other 400 Mawozo gang members, used firearms to guard the missionaries during their captivity,” the statement said.

“400 Mawozo made ransom demands for the release of the missionaries, and one of the gang’s stated goals in holding the hostages was to secure from the Haitian government release of Joly Germine, a 400 Mawozo leader, from prison.”

Pelice, 27, was transferred into US custody on May 16 and made his first appearance on Thursday in the US District Court for the District of Columbia, the Department of Justice said.

The development came as Haiti on Thursday commemorated the one-year anniversary of the murder of President Jovenel Moise, whose killing created a power vacuum and allowed the country’s gangs to expand their territory through a continuing wave of violence.

The abduction of the missionaries brought global attention to the power of gangs in the Caribbean nation.

Two of the hostages were released in November, followed by three more in December. The US-based group that organised the trip to Haiti, Christian Aid Ministries, said the remaining hostages escaped later that month.

There were five children in the group of 16 US citizens and one Canadian, including an eight-month-old. Their Haitian driver also was abducted, according to a local human rights organisation.

The gang’s leader had threatened to kill the hostages unless his demands were met, while Haitian authorities had said 400 Mawozo had demanded $1m per person in ransom, although it was not clear if that included the children.

In May, Haitian gang leader Joly “Yonyon” Germine became the first defendant charged in relation to the missionary abductions. He has pleaded not guilty.

Haiti has for years struggled with gang violence, but kidnappings have spiked across the country since last year – targeting everyone from high-ranking government officials to general citizens.

Turf battles in April and May between the Chen Mechan and 400 Mawozo gangs killed 150 people and forced some 10,000 from their homes, rights activists said at the time.

Demonstrators have taken to the streets demanding that the government of Prime Minister Ariel Henry do more to address gang violence and kidnappings

Meanwhile, Haiti’s overwhelmed government is struggling to crack down on the gangs and reduce the rise in kidnappings amid continuing political turmoil and a lack of functioning state institutions.

The United Nations has said that almost seven kidnappings are reported per day and that in May alone, more than 200 killings and 198 abductions were reported in the country of more than 11 million people.

Those kidnappings included two busloads of children and three UN employees and their dependents. In addition, one gang recently seized control of part of Haiti’s Court of First Instance, looting and burning case files and evidence.


Related Articles

WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT - US Memphis Police murdering innocent Tyre Nichols
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said he will block Reps. Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell from serving on the House Intelligence Committee
Almost 30% of professionals say they've tried ChatGPT at work
Interpol seeks woman who ran elaborate exam cheating scam in Singapore
What is ChatGPT?
Bill Gates is ‘very optimistic’ about the future: ‘Better to be born 20 years from now...than any time in the past’
Tesla reported record profits and record revenues for 2022
Germany confirms it will provide Ukraine with Leopard 2 tanks
Prince Andrew and Virginia Giuffre Photo Is Fake: Ghislaine Maxwell
Opinion | Israel’s Supreme Court Claims a Veto on Democracy
Moonwalker Buzz Aldrin Gets Married On His 93rd Birthday
Who’s Threatening Israeli Democracy?
Federal Reserve Probes Goldman’s Consumer Business
China's first population drop in six decades
Microsoft is finalising plans to become the latest technology giant to reduce its workforce during a global economic slowdown
Tesla slashes prices globally by as much as 20 percent
1.4 Million Copies Of Prince Harry's Memoir 'Spare' Sold On 1st Day In UK
After Failing To Pay Office Rent, Twitter May Sell User Names
Lisa Marie Presley, singer and daughter of Elvis, dies aged 54
FIFA president questioned by prosecutors
Britain's Sunak breaks silence and admits using private healthcare
Hype and backlash as Harry's memoir goes on sale. Unnamed royal source says prince 'kidnapped by cult of psychotherapy and Meghan'
Saudi Arabia set to overtake India as fastest-growing major economy this year 
Google and Facebook’s dominance in digital ads challenged by rapid ascent of Amazon and TikTok
FTX fraud investigators are digging deeper into Sam Bankman-Fried's inner circle – and reportedly have ex-engineer Nishad Singh in their sights
TikTok CEO Plans to Meet European Union Regulators
France has banned the online sale of paracetamol until February, citing ongoing supply issues
Japan reportedly to give families 1 million yen per child to move out of Tokyo
Will Canada ever become a real democracy?
Hong Kong property brokerages slash payrolls in choppy market
U.S. Moves to Seize Robinhood Shares, Silvergate Accounts Tied to FTX
Effect of EU sanctions on Moscow is ‘less than zero’ – Belgian MEP
Coinbase to Pay $100 Million in Settlement With New York Regulator
FTX assets worth $3.5bn held by Bahamas securities regulator
A Republican congressman-elect is under investigation in New York after he admitted he lied about his education and work experience.
Brazilian football legend Pele, arguably the greatest player ever, has died at the age of 82.
Hong Kong to scrap almost all its Covid rules
EU calls screening of travellers from China unjustified
US imposes Covid testing for visitors from China
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy Addresses Joint Session of Congress - FULL SPEECH
Where is Rishi? Chancellor Jeremy Hunt's excuses about the UK's economic challenges just don't make sense
Former FTX CEO Bankman-Fried finally arrested in Bahamas after U.S. files charges
Corruption works: House Financial Services Chair Waters doesn't plan to subpoena her donor, Sam Bankman-Fried, to testify at hearing on FTX collapse
Ronaldo's new contract...
Prince William's godmother resigns honorary royal role after exposing her/their racism
Tax fraud verdict again exposes illusion of Trump the master businessman
Tax fraud verdict again exposes illusion of Trump the master businessman.
Yellen hints at ‘national security’ probe into Twitter purchase
Elon Musk reinstates Donald Trump's Twitter account.
Good news: US moves to shield Saudi crown prince in journalist killing