Son from elite family sent to prison in Haiti for kidnapping

A man from a wealthy Haitian family has been convicted of running a kidnapping ring that preyed on other members of the elite in this impoverished country.

Clifford Brandt, who briefly escaped during a mass jail uprising in 2014, was convicted of charges that included kidnapping and sentenced to 18 years of hard labor at a hearing Tuesday before an investigative judge in the capital, Port-au-Prince.

Judge Jeudilien Fanfan Joseph also convicted two co-defendants, Ricot Pierre-Val, who sentenced to 18 years, and Carlo Bendel Saint-Fort, who got a 19-year sentence. He found two others not guilty and ordered their immediate release.

Brandt, 45, was first jailed in 2012 for allegedly kidnapping two adult children of another wealthy family and demanding a ransom of $2.5 million. A 2012 report from Haiti's National Human Rights Defense Network alleged that Brandt was the leader of a kidnapping gang that had at least 13 victims.

He escaped from a maximum-security lockup in a mass breakout in 2014 but was recaptured a couple of days later near the Dominican border.