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Haiti - Social : 2 Haitians accused of human smuggling
06/09/2010 14:04:14

Haiti - Social : 2 Haitians accused of human smuggling
Mésidor Wilner and Nues Pierre, two Haitians appeared in Court yesterday morning in Tortola (Norman Island), they are accused of human smuggling, transporting dangerous and illegal entry. On 15 August 65 illegal migrants were arrested on Norman Island after their ship had engine problems.

Nues in the presence of an interpreter, was represented by Akilah Anderson, while Wilner his accomplice was seeking a lawyer for his next court appearance on Sept. 14. At the next appearance, the two men could plead to the charges against them.

Tiffany Scatliff the Senior Crown Prosecutor told the court that the wooden motor boat, 35 feet was used to transport illegal migrants had been recorded on the Dutch side of St. Martin Island and lacked life jackets, the prosecutor stated that the boat was licensed to carry up to eight people. He said that migrants were different nationalities Haitian (20), Jamaican, Dominican and Guatemalan.

The prosecutor said that migrants were paid about $1,500 U.S. dollars per person for two defendants in exchange for carriage of Dutch St. Maarten - U.S. Virgin Islands. He also informed the Court that irregular migrants have told officials they were able to identify the boat captains. Subsequently, an identification parade was conducted and one of two Jamaicans identified as Haitian captains of the ship.

Other evidence has been provided by the Dutch police in St. Martin who came to Tortola provide a video showing Wilner meeting with one of the illegal migrants from Jamaica.

During an interrogation with the police in Tortola, it is alleged that Wilner was identified on the video, and said that he and Nues were held alternately in the navigation of the ship. However, in his interrogation, Nues denied any involvement in the transport of illegal migrants. During the investigation, the court learned that Nues Pierre had already been expelled of the British Virgin Islands in 2004 for illegal entry.

The Marine Police Unit with the Customs and immigration officers arrested the illegal migrants after being first discovered on Norman Island. The Government has since repatriated 61 of the 65 illegal migrants to their countries of origin.

The ship involved in the transport of migrants has been seized.

S/ HaïtiLibre

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