All six French aid workers were sentenced up to eight years of hard labor in Chad the previous year. But, they were all flown home to France to serve equivalent terms in jail. According to a statement made by Mr. Deby, France’s government said it was sending a request the pardon the six aid workers.
This development comes as France is assisting Chad in combating an offensive launched by rebel troops. In an interview, Mr. Deby said that he was ready to pardon them if France made the request.
Later, the French government said it would immediately send the request according to the AFP news agency. The six workers from the charity called Zoe’s Ark have denied the charges of kidnapping during the trial.
The workers have said they were tricked into thinking the children they were flying to France were orphans from the Darfur region of Sudan. However, the children were from Chad and many had parents that were still alive.
Mr. Deby made the offer for the pardon in Chad’s capital, N’Djamena. He had also thanked France which was a former colonial power in the country for support in fighting the rebel offensive.
He said that Paris had provided vital information in preparation from a week-long assault. Rebels have stormed the capital during that week.