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French charity workers jailed in children-smuggling case

© AFP

Video by FRANCE 24

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-02-12

A Paris court on Tuesday sentenced Eric Breteau and Emilie Lelouch, the two members of French charity Zoe’s Ark on trial for attempting to smuggle 103 children from Chad to France in 2007, to two years in jail.

The head of French charity Zoe’s Ark and his girlfriend, who were being tried for attempting to smuggle 103 children from Chad to France in 2007, were on Tuesday sentenced to two years in jail.

Eric Breteau and Emilie Lelouch, who had been staying in South Africa and had not attended the trial, were present in the Paris court and were arrested after the sentence was handed down.

They were found guilty on charges of fraud, of illegally brokering adoption and of attempting to bring foreign minors into the country.

They were also fined 50,000 euros each and forbidden from exercising any activity related to the placement or accommodation of minors.

The charity, Zoe’s Ark, which was also being sued, was fined 100,000 euros and dissolved.

Eric Breateau, Emilie Lelouch and Zoe’s Ark “could not possibly be ignorant of the illegal nature of their work” and “they deliberately lied to the families,” the court said when reading out the sentence.

They were arrested in Chad in October 2007 while trying to fly 103 children to France that they claimed were orphans from Darfur. But most of the children were neither orphans nor from Sudan.

(FRANCE24 with wires)
 

Date created : 2013-02-12

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