Chad 'Kidnappers' in France

Aid workers will serve out Chadian sentences in homeland
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 28, 2007 4:55 PM CST
Zoe's Ark members Dominique Aubry (L) et Emilie Lelouch (R), are escorted by French prison officials as they board the plane that will take them on to France 28 December 2007 at N'Djamena airport. Six...   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Six charity workers convicted of kidnapping children in Chad arrived today in their native France, where they are expected to serve out 8-year sentences, Reuters reports. The six, employees of humanitarian group Zoe’s Ark, will meet with a prosecutor to decide their prison placement. By serving their sentences in France, they swapped a Chadian court’s sentence of hard labor for jail time.

The standing of $9 million in punitive damages awarded to the children’s families by the court in Chad, a former French colony, is unclear, Reuters reports. The workers could also face lawsuits from European families who had agreed to adopt the children; some of the families reportedly paid several thousand euros per child. The workers argued in court that they believed the children were orphans from Darfur.