11/29/2011, 00.00
SRI LANKA
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Released, but awaiting trial, the sister of Mother Teresa who "sold children"

by Melani Manel Perera
Sister Eliza, Missionary of Charity, had to change convent, hand over her passport and is prohibited from leaving the country. An anonymous phone call accuses the religious of illicit trafficking of children in their hostel for unmarried mothers.
Colombo (AsiaNews) - Sister Eliza, the Missionary of Charity arrested for "selling children," has been released. Yesterday evening, the magistrate Yvonne Fernando ordered her release, fixing a bail of 7,500 rupees (about 50 Euros) for each charge, plus a security deposit of 50 thousand rupees (about 330 euros). The sister of Mother Teresa has been ordered to go to another convent of the congregation, to give up her passport and is banned from leaving the country until the case is closed. The appeal will be held on December 1st.

On the orders of the National Child Protection Authority (NCPA), an independent body that answers to the office of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the police arrested Sister Mary Eliza on the night of November 25 last. A few days earlier, an anonymous phone caller to police accused the religious of selling children in Prem Nives, the hostel for unmarried mothers in Morutwa (Colombo) run by the Missionaries. So on November 23 police officers raided the NCPA Prem Nives: having ransacked the entire house and interrogated its guests, the authorities took away all records and impounded the building .

At present, the Prem Nives welcomes 75 children and 32 pregnant women, 12 of whom arrived recently. The hostel is a point of reference for associations that deal with adoptions of children in Sri Lanka. With the arrest of a nun, adoptions in progress (with Italy) have been blocked, but the intended parents are hoping that with her release will unlock the situation as soon as possible.

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