[JURIST] Four Chadian nationals face criminal charges over their alleged involvement in an attempt to airlift 103 children [JURIST news archive] from Chad for the French charity Zoe's Ark [advocacy website, in French; BBC backgrounder]. The four defendants - the mayor, secretary-general, deputy governor, and neighborhood chief of the Chadian border town of Tine - appeared in court Wednesday on charges of fraud and conspiring to kidnap minors. If convicted, they could face extended prison time with hard labor.
On Monday, a Chadian prosecutor questioned [JURIST report] Europeans detained for their roles in the attempted airlift, including three Spanish flight crew members and five workers from the charity. On Sunday, a top official with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) [official website] said the attempted airlift violated international law. Although Zoe's Ark officials said the children were orphans from Darfur, UNICEF found that they were mostly from villages in Chad and were not actually orphans [press release; JURIST report]. BBC News has more.