CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. - A South Florida woman is fighting to free her husband, who has been in prison for months.
Sarah Narine said her husband, Navin Narine, went to Haiti in August, working as a consultant for a Fort Lauderdale telecom to help it set up a call center.
But a few hours after he landed in Port-au-Prince, he was handcuffed. He was one of five people accused of setting up a private phone company so long-distance callers could avoid the hefty tax levied by the Caribbean's telecom giant, Digicel. The practice is considered a form of piracy called bypassing, but bypassing isn't considered a crime in Haiti.
"I just need someone to intervene and see what's really going on and who's behind this for the truth to come out so my husband can come home," said Sarah Narine.
Narine's attorney said the 36-year-old father of three is instead being held on charges trumped up by the Haitian government.
"They have no legal standing for bypassing, so they charge him with three other charges, which is fraud, criminal conspiracy and laundering," said attorney Ronald Augustin.
"And is there any evidence to support those charges?" asked Local 10's Roger Lohse.
"No, there is no evidence," Augustin said.
Digicel is represented by attorneys who also hold high-level positions in the Haitian government. The U.S. embassy recently sent a letter to the Haitian dean of courts asking why Navin Narine has been held for so long with no hearing to determine the validity of the charges.
"They got no reply. It's been months, and they got no reply so what you do so they sit and they're waiting," Sarah Narine said.
She said the ordeal has been hardest on their 6-year-old daughter, who can't understand why her daddy won't come home. The desperate mother has been working quietly for four months to free her husband but said she can't stay silent anymore.
"If they can say why they're holding him, then it would make sense. But to have him there for four months and not understanding why are you holding him -- give some reason. Present some evidence," she said.
The U.S. State Department confirmed its involvement in the case and said representatives of the U.S. Consul in Haiti have been to visit Navin Narine twice, and they are closely monitoring the case.
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