Americans Helping Ex-Soldiers Jailed for Conspiracy
- Sunday, May 20, 2012 6:45 PM
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (defend.ht) - Two Americans are in jail in Haiti for what authorities charge as conspiracy to destabilize the government. The two men gave rides to some of the former soldiers who participated in a march in the capital on Friday.
Reginald Delva, the Haitian Secretary of State for Public Security, told the Associated Press that American Citizens Jason William Petrie, 39 from Ohio, and Steven Parker Shaw, 57 from Massachusetts were charged on Saturday night for "providing logistical support".
The authorities say Petrie and Shaw were drivers for a group of former soldiers and aspiring soldiers who marched in Port-au-Prince on Friday for the army's return.
The march brought hundreds of supporters for the return of the army into the streets who threw rocks at United Nations peacekeepers. Later in the day gunfire was exchanged at one of the bases occupied by former soldiers of the Armed Forces of Haiti (FAdH).
Petrie and Shaw themselves were dressed to support. The AP reported that Petrie wore an army T-shirt and Shaw wore camouflaged pants.
Petrie worked at times as an interpreter for foreigners and has been involved in Haiti for two decade according to the AP which spoke to him while he was in jail. Petrie says the soldiers he drove were friends and he wanted to help them by giving them a ride. Shaw told the AP he was there to help Petrie.
"There wasn't some American plotting against the government or causing instability. I think he got in a little over his head," the brother of Petrie, Ben, said by telephone from his home in Ohio. "I don't know what he was thinking but I can say unequivocally that there was no conspiracy."
Ben Petrie, 37, said his brother had only the best intentions for a country he fell in love with.
"Some would say he has no business getting involved in Haiti's business, and I would agree with that," Ben Petrie said. "But he's tired of the situation in Haiti and wants to see Haiti stand up on its own two feet."
Two other Americans and a Canadian were held for questioning for 24 hours in a police station lobby because they tried to bring medicine to Petrie for his diabetes. They were released late Saturday.
Source: Associated Press