Posted by hougansydney with AFP on Wednesday, September 14, 2016 Under: Justice
Three members of a kidnapping ring were convicted by a Haitian court on Tuesday, in a case that stunned the poor Caribbean nation because one suspect was from a wealthy, prominent family.
Clifford Brandt, now 45, was arrested in October 2012 as part of an investigation into the kidnapping of two children of a well-to-do Haitian businessman.
Brandt – also a businessman – on the evening of his arrest personally led local and international investigators involved in the search to where brother and sister Coralie and Nicolas Moscosco, 23 and 24 at the time – were being held for a ransom of $2.5 millions
Under interrogation by the investigating judge, Brandt confessed his involvement in the week-long kidnapping. Brandt said he committed the crime out of hatred for their father, a rival. But it is believed that Brandt was also involved in numerous other cases of kidnapping, including of american citizens. These cases are still under investigations.
In August 2014, the Brandt case took another dramatic twist when the suspect broke out of the new, top security jail where he was awaiting trial. About 48 hours later, he was arrested near the border with the Dominican Republic and returned to jail.
On Tuesday, Brandt and two accomplices in the crime were found guilty of kidnapping and holding people to seek ransom and weapons charges.
Brandt, considered the leader of the ring, and one colleague were sentenced to 18 years of forced labour, while the third was sentenced to 19.
The sentencing of such a prominent and wealthy man is a historical first for Haiti, as crimes committed by the powerful usually go unpunished.