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Chad president may pardon 'Darfur orphan' airlift workers within month

[JURIST] Chadian President Idriss Deby [official website, in French; BBC profile] said Thursday that he may pardon six French aid workers convicted in Chad in December of attempting to kidnap [JURIST reports] 103 African children within a month. In February, Deby said that he is prepared to pardon the French citizens [JURIST report], but that he would only do so upon an official request from France. French officials say they sent the request to Deby in early February. Deby also said in an interview with France-24 television [France-24 report] Thursday that he would like the families of the children to receive $12 million in compensation, noting that Chad will have to cover the costs if the aid agency is unable to do so. AP has more.

The aid workers, affiliated with Zoe's Ark [advocacy website], said they were attempting to airlift orphaned children [JURIST news archive] from the war-torn Sudanese region of Darfur, but investigations revealed that most of the children were not Sudanese or orphans. In January, another aid worker was charged in French court [JURIST report] with conspiring to allow illegal residents into the country in connection with the foiled airlift.

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