France: Aid workers accused of adoption fraud

AP News
Posted: Dec 03, 2012 10:24 AM

PARIS (AP) — French aid workers are on trial on fraud charges after trying to bring 103 children from central Africa to France for adoption, claiming they were orphans from Darfur.

Six workers for French charity Zoe's Ark were arrested in Chad in 2007 as they sought to put the children on a plane.

An investigation found the children were from Chad, not neighboring Sudan's troubled Darfur region, and most were not orphans.

The case shocked the public in France and Chad and hurt diplomatic relations.

The workers were sentenced to eight years' forced labor in Chad for kidnapping. They were later transferred to France and pardoned by Chad's president.

French authorities led a separate investigation that came to trial Monday. Two leading suspects have left France and are being tried in absentia.