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Motion Filed to Bring Imprisoned American Home from Haiti

by Staff
February 11, 2010
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DALLAS, ( -- Today, attorneys filed a motion asking for the release of Jim Allen, a Texan who is imprisoned in Haiti with nine Baptists who were in the Caribbean country to assist relief victims after last month's devastating earthquake there. Mr. Allen, a construction worker and small business owner from Amarillo, Texas, joined the team 48 hours before the group's departure in an attempt to lend his construction expertise in the rebuilding efforts, and has been held, along with the others, by Haitian authorities since January 29.

"Jim is an honest, hard-working American who just wanted to help those in need," said Lisa Allen, Jim Allen's wife, who was allowed to speak with her husband yesterday for the first time since he was detained 13 days ago. "Jim was invited to go with a group from Idaho just a couple of days before they left. He felt compelled to use his skills to help complete a temporary orphanage for those who had lost everything."

Mr. Allen has been before a Haitian judge a number of times, but until yesterday had not been allowed to speak with his attorneys in the United States. Attorneys for the Allen family sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton this week asking for her involvement to get Mr. Allen home.

"Jim Allen is an upstanding American with a good heart trying to help rebuild a devastated country," said Kelly Shackelford, chief counsel of Liberty Legal Institute, a non-profit legal firm that is helping the Allen family. "We believe that when the facts of this case are revealed, our client will be released. We're working hard to make that happen."

Invited by a cousin in Idaho to join the team, Mr. Allen jumped at the chance to help. "He had been talking for years about wanting to help relief efforts," said his wife, who has been particularly concerned with Jim's well-being while in a Haitian prison since he suffers from a medical condition for which he takes medication.

"We hope and pray that the State Department is doing everything it can to get all these Americans, in particular Jim Allen, home," said Hiram Sasser, director of litigation for Liberty Legal Institute. "We have faith that the Haitian judge will do the right thing after Jim's facts come to light."

Liberty Legal Institute has set up a website to help with Jim Allen's legal defense at Jim's Haitian counsel is Louis Gary Lissade, who previously served as Haitian Minister of Justice. Mr. Lissade filed today's motion on Jim Allen's behalf.

Liberty Legal Institute is a legal organization committed to the defense of First Amendment rights and practices before the U.S. Supreme Court.

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