Pastor Paul Thompson was one of the ten Baptist volunteers arrested in Haiti on kidnapping charges this past January. Laura Silsby, the last volunteer still in prison, was released yesterday after more than 100 days in jail. Now that all ten volunteers have been released, Pastor Thompson finally feels free to share his side of the story. From the Baptist Press:
Paul Thompson reads the media accounts describing the journey of him and nine other jailed Baptist volunteers in Haiti who are all now free, and scratches his head. He was there. What he reads is not what he experienced … “It’s radically different,” Thompson said. For instance:
– The 10 Americans did not, as has been alleged in some accounts, go through the streets of Port-au-Prince passing out flyers and going door-to-door looking for children, Thompson said. Instead, the 33 children they were trying to take across the border in a medium-sized bus came from two orphanages, and orphanage workers told them that none of the children had parents.
– The group was told multiple times before they got to the border that their documentation and paperwork — the source of the controversy — was sufficient, Thompson said. A Haitian child services official said as much, as did a Haitian policeman and an orphanage director who has extensive experience transferring orphans from Haiti to the Dominican Republic.
– The 10 Baptists were arrested in Port-au-Prince, and not at the border. They thought they would go free until UNICEF — a United Nations agency — got involved and pressed charges, Thompson says.
– They were arrested on Jan. 30, and not Jan. 29 as has been reported repeatedly.
Visit the Baptist Press website for the full story with many fascinating details.