Six French citizens accused of the attempted kidnapping of 103 children have gone on trial in the Chadian capital of N'Djamena, in a courtroom surrounded by riot police and packed with journalists. The members of the Zoe's Ark charity, who claim that the children were orphans from Darfur whom they were taking to foster families in France, have gone on hunger strike. If found guilty, they face 20 years of hard labor, reports the BBC.
Charity workers are alleged to have bandaged children who were uninjured and caked their skin with fake blood before trying to board a flight to Paris. Most of the Chadian children turned out to have one or more living parents or guardians. Although the French government has appealed for leniency, a minister in Chad told Reuters, "Have you ever seen an African sent back home after committing a crime as serious?"