April 26th, 2010
01:41 PM ET

Judge drops kidnapping charge against U.S. missionary

American missionary Laura Silsby will stand trial in Haiti on a charge of arranging irregular travel, a judge ruled Monday, but more serious charges against her and nine fellow missionaries were dropped.

Judge Bernard Saint-Vil dropped kidnapping and criminal association charges against Silsby and nine other missionaries who were stopped while trying to take 33 Haitian children out of the country after a devastating earthquake rocked Haiti in January.

People convicted of arranging irregular travel face from six months to three years in prison.

Silsby's nine fellow missionaries were released from detention and returned to the United States weeks ago, but Silsby has remained behind bars in Haiti.

The judge ruled that Silsby and Jeant Saint-Vil, a Haitian-American pastor who is not related to the judge, will stand trial on the charge of arranging irregular travel, but it was not immediately clear when the trial would take place.

The judge's decision means that the nine other missionaries no longer face any charges in Haiti.

Haitian authorities stopped the 10 on January 29 as they tried to take 33 Haitian children across the border into the Dominican Republic. Authorities said the group didn't have proper legal documentation.

The 10 Americans, many of whom belong to a Baptist church in Idaho, have said they were trying to help the children get to a safe place after the 7.0-magnitude earthquake flattened cities and towns in Haiti.

- CNN's Lonzo Cook contributed to this report

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