Coral Springs man released from Haitian prison
Navin Narine released from Haitian prison
Author: Janine Stanwood, General Assignment Reporter, jstanwood@Local10.com
Published On: Aug 17 2012 05:31:56 PM EDT Updated On: Aug 19 2012 04:10:26 PM EDT
CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. -
One year and nine days after being held prisoner in Haiti, away from his family in Coral Springs, Navin Narine has been released and returned home, according to his attorney Friday.
Narine arrived at Miami International Airport just after 9 p.m. Wearing a teal tank top and beaming when he saw his family, Narine was near speechless.
"Nights upon nights you don't sleep because here am I sleeping in a bed; where is my son sleeping?" said Narine's mother, Gloria.
Narine said he did not think he would be coming home. He said conditions inside Haiti's National Penitentiary were dismal; no air conditioning, little food, and cramped quarters. He shared a 20-foot by 20-foot cell with 70 other men.
"No, that place is insane," Narine said.
His nightmare began when he embarked on what he thought would be an overnight business trip, working as a consultant for a Fort Lauderdale telecom, to help it set up a call center in Haiti.
Several hours after his plane landed in Port-Au-Prince, he was handcuffed.
Narine, then 36, was among five people accused of setting up a pirate phone system so long-distance callers could avoid hefty taxes levied by the Caribbean's telecom giant called Digicel.
The practice, called bypassing, is not illegal in Haiti.
Digicel, however, is represented by high-ranking Haitian officials who would have profited from those taxes, according to Narine's lawyer.
Narine was eventually charged with conspiracy, fraud, and money laundering. Attorney Ronald Augustin, who represents Narine, said those charges were bogus and politically motivated.
The conspiracy and money laundering charges were dropped in December. Narine's wife said he appealed the fraud charge, and an appeals court judge eventually found that there was not enough evidence to convict him.
Narine was released from prison on Tuesday, she said. He said he was grateful for his family but angry at his situation, and disappointed the U.S. Embassy could not do more.
"Of course. I lost a whole year of my life," he said.
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