Chad defendants go on hunger strike protesting probe of 'Darfur orphans' airlift

[JURIST] Six French charity workers accused of complicity in an abortive effort by French charity Zoe's Ark [advocacy website, in French] to airlift so-called "Darfur orphans" out of Chad [JURIST news archive] to Europe went on a hunger strike in the Chadian capital of N'Djamena Saturday to protest the way the Chadian legal probe into their case has been conducted, according to AFP. The six are said to be refusing food, although they are taking water and cigarettes. A lawyer for the group told AFP that the workers felt they had been abandoned by the French government; last month, French President Nicholas Sarkozy flew to Chad and brought out a number of freed journalists and flight crew [JURIST report] allegedly involved in the airlift.

Last week investigators in Chad completed their investigation [JURIST report] of the airlift and transferred the case to Chadian prosecutors, who are expected to decide this week whether the case should proceed on misdemeanor charges to a correctional court, as the defendants have requested, or on more serious charges to a criminal court. Four Chadian nationals also face criminal charges [JURIST report] over their alleged involvement in the attempted airlift, including the mayor, secretary-general, deputy governor and neighborhood chief of the Chadian border town of Tine. AFP has more.



 

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