Haiti Prosecutors Urge Prison For U.S Missionary

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — A U.S. missionary should spend six months in prison for her failed attempt to remove 33 children from Haiti following the Jan. 12 earthquake, a prosecutor said Thursday on the first day of her trial. Prosecutor Sonel Jean-Francois told the court that Laura Silsby knew she was breaking the law by trying to take the children without proper documents to an orphanage she was starting in the neighboring Dominican Republic. "Laura recognized she violated the law," Jean-Francois said as lawyers and a small group of spectators crowded into a a stiflingly hot tent in the parking lot of the quake-damaged courthouse. He spoke after the Idaho woman testified. Silsby, who was leader of a group of Baptists detained by authorities, was the only person to testify on the first day of the trial. She spent much session reading the Bible. The 40-year-old businesswoman told the court she thought the children were orphans whose homes were destroyed in the earthquake.