The chief prosecutor in Chad has demanded jail terms of between seven and eleven years with hard labour for the French aid workers accused of trying to kidnap children. The six members of the French humanitarian group Zoe’s Ark were arrested in October as they tried to fly 103 children from Chad to Europe.
The prosecutor called for the acquittal of two Chadians linked to the affair, and asked the jury to decide any penalty for another Chadian and a Sudanese, pleading mitigating circumstances. The Zoe’s Ark workers were arrested in eastern Chad, near the border with Sudan.
They claimed the children were orphans from Sudan’s war-torn region of Darfur. It later emerged that not only were they not Sudanese, but most had at least one living parent. The leader of Zoe’s Ark, Eric Breteau, has claimed that senior officials in Paris knew about his plans all along.