France to forward aid workers’ pardon plea to Chad

February 16th, 2008 - 1:33 am ICT by admin  

Paris, Feb 7 (DPA) The French government would transmit a request to the government of Chad to pardon six French aid workers convicted of kidnapping 103 children, the spokesman for President Nicolas Sarkozy said Thursday. “If the convicted members of (the aid group) Arche de Zoe send a request for a pardon to us, we will transmit it immediately to the Chadian authorities,” David Martinon told journalists in Paris.

Earlier Thursday, Chadian President Idriss Deby told the French radio station Europe 1 that he was prepared to rapidly pardon the six aid workers.

“I am ready to pardon them. (But) I cannot take this decision on my own. I can only take it when France requests it,” Deby said.

The six members of the Arche de Zoe (Zoe’s Ark) aid group were sentenced in December to eight years of hard labour by a Chadian court for trying to fly out of the country 103 children they said were orphans from the conflict region of Darfur.

However, most of the children turned out to be of Chadian nationality and to have relatives.

Because of judicial agreements between France and its former colony, the six were then transferred to France and their sentences were converted to eight years in prison in accordance with French law.

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