6 French charity workers released

March 31, 2008 at 11:31 PM

PARIS, March 31 (UPI) -- Six French aid workers jailed for abducting 103 African children have been freed in France after being pardoned by Chad, officials said.

Chadian President Idriss Deby signed a pardon order paving the way for the six staff members of Zoe's Ark charity to be released, the Voice of America reported Monday. They had been arrested last October just as they were to fly the children to France and sentenced by a Chadian court this year to eight years of hard labor for abducting the children, who turned out not to be Sudanese as they had contended.

The six, who maintained they had been misled by middlemen about the children's circumstances, were later transferred to France to serve their sentence.

Still at issue, VOA reported, is nearly $10 million in damages and interest the Chadian court ordered the six to pay.

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