Charity staff jailed for African child-smuggling

Updated: 12 Feb 2013 15:27 GMT+01:00

BREAKING NEWS: Two charity workers have been sentenced in Paris to two years in prison for attempting to smuggle 103 children from Chad to France in 2007.

Eric Breteau and Emilie Lelauch, from the Zoe’s Ark charity, were also fined €100,000 by the court, according to French media reports on Tuesday.

As the charity’s managing director Breteau, and his assistant Lelauch had attempted to pass off the children in question as orphans from the war and famine-stricken region of Darfur.

They were accused by the government of Chad of kidnapping after emerged the children were not Sudanese and most still had living relatives.

Breteau, Lelouch, doctor Philippe van Winkelberg, logistics operators Alain Peligat and Dominique Aubry and nurse Nadia Merimi were all originally sentenced to eight years of hard labour in Chad.

Under a deal with Chad, they were repatriated to France and had their sentences adjusted to jail time there, before finally being pardoned in March 2008 by President Idriss Deby Itno.

They were then retried in France.