PORT-AU-PRINCE (AFP) – Three members of an alleged kidnapping ring were convicted by a Haitian court on Tuesday, in a case that stunned the 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 investigators to where brother and sister Coralie and Nicolas Moscosco, 23 and 24 at the time — were being held.
Under interrogation by the investigating judge, Brandt confessed his responsibility for the week-long kidnapping. Brandt said he committed the crime out of hatred for their father, a rival.
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 who had sought a 2.5-million dollar payment 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 labor, while the third was sentenced to 19.
Haiti is the poorest nation in the Americas.