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Chad president pardons 'Darfur orphans' airlift workers

[JURIST] Chadian President Idriss Deby [official website, in French; BBC profile] Monday officially pardoned six French aid workers convicted in Chad in December of attempting to kidnap [JURIST reports] 103 African children. The six were handed over [JURIST report] to French custody in December to serve their sentences. Chad's Higher Judicial Council on Friday recommended [JURIST report] that Deby pardon the French workers. Earlier this month Deby had indicated a willingness to grant the pardons [JURIST report] earlier this month, saying he was waiting for an official request from France. The pardoned workers were released from French detention hours after the pardon was announced.

The aid workers, affiliated with charity Zoe's Ark [advocacy website, in French], said they were attempting to airlift orphaned children from the war-torn Sudanese region of Darfur [JURIST news archives], 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. AP has more. Reuters has additional coverage.

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