Published on Press TV, by SG/SME/HAR, May 30, 2009.
The French charity Zoe’s Ark faces trial as an organization for “fraud” related to the “snatching” of 103 Chadian children in 2007, a court source says.
The group’s head Eric Breteau was brought before judges on Thursday to have the charges which also include assisting in the illegal immigration of foreign children “with a view to adoption” read out to him.
Breteau and his partner, Emilie Lelouch, have already been charged personally on similar counts following complaints from five former volunteers who claimed to have been duped by the association.
The five were sent to Chad in September 2007 and told they were on a mission to help Darfur orphans, but returned to France shortly before six members of the organization were arrested on October 25 that year …
… France has 1,000 troops and fighter jets stationed in Chad, home to some 236,000 refugees from Darfur as well as some 173,000 people displaced by a local rebellion.
There have been accusations from various political sectors about former colonial power France being an “accomplice” in the crime.
“We have got ourselves into an impossible situation and I would like to know exactly what the French authorities’ role was,” said former premier, Laurent Fabius, in October 2007.
In a book published in 2008, Breteau said that both the French Foreign Ministry and the French president’s office had known about his mission beforehand and backed it. (full text).