Crime/Justice

Indicted head of Haitian kidnapping ring freed | Miami Herald


Woodly Ethéart, aka Sonson Lafamilia, was freed late Friday after a trial that lasted about two hours, said the head of Haiti’s leading human rights group. Lamarre Bélizaire, a controversial investigative judge who has been accused in the past of doing the government’s bidding, threw out the indictment and freed Ethéart and Renel Nelfort.

Both men were described in a 30-page charging document as being the “intellectual authors” of Gang Galil, a notorious ring that kidnapped 17 people, including businessmen, for ransom between 2008 and 2014. According to the document, the gang collected nearly $1.5 million in ransom that was used to buy arms and ammunition, buildings and vehicles. Ethéart, who worked at the Ministry of Interior and operated the French restaurant, La Souvenance, maintained that he was innocent.

“The power wanted to free him, and they used the cover of the judiciary to free him,” said Pierre Esperance, the executive director of the National Human Rights Defense Network. “It’s a huge hit for justice and against the work of the judiciary in this case.” via | Miami Herald

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