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ACLJ Helps Secure Release of U.S. Missionary Who Spent Months in a Haitian Jail
"The fact that he was detained and held for months in jail with no charges of any kind is very troubling." said Jordan Sekulow, ACLJ Director of International Operations.
WASHINGTON, March 17, 2011—A missionary from Florida who spent more than five months jailed in Haiti without being charged with a crime is now a free man. The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) assisted in securing Danny Pye's release.
"The freedom now enjoyed by Danny Pye is long overdue, and we're delighted he is being reunited with his family," said Jordan Sekulow, ACLJ counsel and director of international operations. "The fact that he was detained and held for months in jail with no charges of any kind is very troubling and points to the fact that the judicial system in Haiti is badly in need of reform. We're pleased that we were able to assist in a team effort both in this country and in Haiti that has resulted in Danny's release."
Danny, who had been working in Haiti for eight years, was detained and jailed in October 2010 after resolving a property dispute in a civil court hearing. Without explanation or any formal charges filed, Haitian authorities took him into custody and had been holding him behind bars since that time.
Danny's pregnant wife, Leann, says she immediately began working to get her husband released, but ran into numerous problems along the way.
Danny was scheduled to be released from jail on Christmas Eve. A second judge determined that Danny had been illegally detained and signed orders for his release, but before Danny could leave the jail, the judge who initially ordered his incarceration overruled that decision and ordered that Danny remain in custody.
Last week, Leann contacted the ACLJ seeking assistance and ACLJ attorneys began working on the U.S. efforts to secure Danny's release. In Washington, the ACLJ met with the Haitian ambassador to the U.S. and discussed the matter with officials at the U.S. State Department. The ACLJ also worked with government officials in Haiti - including Danny's attorney there. Haitian authorities have now agreed to release him, but without citing a reason or offering a comment of any kind.
Danny is scheduled to return home to Florida. His reunion with his family comes at a special time because Leann is expecting their second child in just a matter of days.Led by Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow, the American Center for Law and Justice focuses on constitutional law and is based in Washington, D.C. The ACLJ is online at www.aclj.org.