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.