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Convicted Charity Workers Return to France From Chad

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Convicted Charity Workers Return to France From Chad

Post by shammy on Sat Dec 29, 2007 3:01 pm

29th December,2007

PARIS — Six French charity workers who were convicted in Chad of trying to kidnap 103 children in a campaign to aid Sudanese orphans returned to France Friday night. They now face an effort by the French courts to adjust their sentences of eight years of hard labor.

The court in Chad also ordered them to pay the children’s families about $9.3 million.

The workers, who called themselves humanitarians and said they had been following international law, had claimed that the children were orphans from the conflict in Darfur. But most of them were Chadian and had at least one living parent.

Under a 1976 judicial cooperation agreement, they returned to France to serve their sentences. But because there is no sentence in France equivalent to hard labor, it is left up to the Justice Ministry to devise an alternative.

The workers arrived at Le Bourget airport near Paris, where friends and relatives awaited the Chadian flight that carried them.

The six were taken to an area jail shortly afterward, The Associated Press quoted François Molins, a state prosecutor, as saying. A decision on their sentences is expected by the middle of January, Mr. Molins said.


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