Chad completes probe into 'Darfur orphan' airlift, case goes to prosecutor

[JURIST] Investigators in Chad Tuesday completed a criminal probe into French charity Zoe's Ark [advocacy website, in French; BBC backgrounder] for its involvement in an October attempt to airlift 103 alleged Darfur orphans [JURIST news archive] from Chad to Europe, and transferred the case to Chadian prosecutors. According to a Chadian court official, prosecutors will now determine 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. The official said that a decision should be made by next week.

The government of Sudan [JURIST news archive] said last week that it was planning a lawsuit against the charity, and that it also has plans to sue a French base in Chad for allegedly allowing Zoe's Ark to use its airport for the attempted airlift. Last month, Chad released three Spanish air crew and a Belgian pilot [JURIST report] held in Chad in connection with the attempted airlift. Chadian authorities also freed seven Europeans [JURIST report] in early November, including three French journalists, after French President Nicolas Sarkozy personally intervened on their behalf. Six Europeans still remain in Chadian custody. 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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