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a201: Family of Haiti prisoner optimistic (fwd)
From: Greg Chamberlain <GregChamberlain@compuserve.com>
MIAMI, Jan 3 (UPI) -- Family members of a Miami businessman detained in
Haiti on suspicion of participating in an attempted coup attempt two weeks
ago said Thursday they are optimistic he will be released.
Antoine Saati was arrested Dec. 20 as he served legal papers on a former
employee he said defrauded his company.
Gina Saati, his sister and a partner in the export-import company, said
the former employee, Eddy Deeb, has close ties to the government of
President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. The firm is suing Deeb in U.S. District
Court in Miami.
Saati remains under custody in a hospital. The nature of his illness has
not been disclosed.
A spokesman for the family said they were encouraged by a phone call
from Saati's lawyers in Port-au-Prince.
Jack Rust said they told him, "there is a very strong possibility of
He said a hearing was expected, perhaps as soon as Thursday.
Rust said the family also was encouraged by intervention from Sens. Bob
Graham and Bill Nelson, both Florida Democrats. Both have inquired about
"I think Bob Graham and Bill Nelson getting involved in the case is
stirring up a little dust," Rust said.
He said prior to that, the family was unhappy with the government
because embassy officials were slow to respond.
Remaining unclear were the circumstances of the arrest and the reasons
for suspicions that Saati was involved in the gun battle that took seven
lives during what the Haitian government said was a coup attempt Dec. 17.