Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

No strategy and a beige suit

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 29 August 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 29 August 2014

Read more

ENCORE!

Alain Choquette: A Hilarious Magician in Paris

Read more

FOCUS

France welcomes Iraqi Christian refugees

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Emmanuel Macron: A new economy minister with a pro-business agenda

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

More of this year's best Observers stories

Read more

#TECH 24

Changing the world, one video game at a time

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Socialist Party summer conference kicks off in explosive atmosphere

Read more

  • Exclusive: Fabius warns of further sanctions against Russia

    Read more

  • Experimental Ebola drug ‘ZMapp’ heals all monkeys in study

    Read more

  • IMF stands behind Lagarde amid French corruption probe

    Read more

  • Ukraine to relaunch NATO membership bid

    Read more

  • Suriname leader’s son pleads guilty to courting Hezbollah

    Read more

  • British killer escapes from French psychiatric hospital

    Read more

  • Chelsea’s Torres set for AC Milan switch

    Read more

  • Police hunt for British boy with brain tumour taken to France

    Read more

  • France shines in IMF list of world’s promising economists

    Read more

  • Mapping Ukraine: Canada and Russia in ‘tweet for tat’ row

    Read more

  • First case of Ebola confirmed in Senegal

    Read more

  • Obama has 'no strategy yet' on potential Syria strikes

    Read more

  • Netflix to woo French with ‘House of Cards’ set in Marseille

    Read more

  • French businesses ‘hoping for a new Thatcher’

    Read more

  • Syrian refugees surpass 3 million, UN says

    Read more

  • West backs Ukrainian claims of Russian incursion

    Read more

  • Libyan PM resigns as Islamists set up rival administration

    Read more

  • UN says 43 peacekeepers captured in Golan Heights

    Read more

  • The deleted tweets of Manuel Valls

    Read more

  • Peru seizes record 6.5 tonnes of Europe-bound cocaine

    Read more

Deby: Zoe's Ark's pardon possible

Latest update : 2008-02-07

President Idriss Deby raised the possibility of a pardon for six French aid workers sentenced to eight years forced labour in Chad. The lawyer for the French workers told FRANCE 24 the next move was up to French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

President Idriss Deby Itno of Chad on Wednesday raised the possibility of a pardon for the six French charity workers convicted in Chad and now serving their sentence in France, over the Zoe's Ark affair.
   
"Given that the Chadian Constitution grants me the right to liberate anyone, whoever they are, Chadian or foreigner, it is not impossible, if France requests it of course, that I examine the question," said Deby in Ndjamena.
   
"For the moment, I have not reflected on this question," he added.
   
Deby's comments brought fresh hope to the six charity workers sentenced last month by French courts to eight years in prison following their conviction by the Chadian courts in December to eight years' hard labour.
   
They were convicted of having tried to abduct more than 100 children from the border with Sudan's war-torn Darfur.

 

(Speaking to FRANCE 24, Gilbert Collard, the lawyer representing the French aid workers said that following Deby’s recent declaration, it was up to French President Nicolas Sarkozy to make the next move.


“We have applied for a pardon,” he said, before adding, “for us, it’s the only way to get out of the current crisis. The lives of the imprisoned Zoe’s Ark members are in Sarkozy’s hands.”)

   
Legal agreements between the two countries allowed for the repatriation of the six to serve out their sentences in French jails.
   
After the French convictions in January however, their only remaining hope of being freed lay with the president.
   
Lawyers for the French had already filed formal requests for pardons.
   
Olivier Desandre-Navarre, lawyer for the logistical specialist Dominique Aubry, described Deby's comments as "a very encouraging sign".
   
"I hope he does it as soon as possible," said Mario Stasi, who represents the nurse Nadia Merimi.
   
During their trial in Ndjamena, the Zoe's Ark members had protested their innocence, saying they were misled by middlemen into believing the children were orphans from the Sudanese region of Darfur which borders eastern Chad.
   
But the French court ruled there had been no "blatant denial of justice" during their Chadian trial.
   
The Zoe's Ark members were detained on October 25 as they were about to put the 103 children on a French-bound flight from the eastern Chad town of Abeche.
   
International aid staff later found almost all the children on board to be Chadian, not war refugees from across the border, and to have at least one living parent.

Date created : 2008-02-07

COMMENT(S)