Court denies Chad kidnapping compensation

Feb. 2, 2013 at 10:24 AM

PARIS, Feb. 2 (UPI) -- A French court has denied Chad's request for compensation from the French charity Arche de Zoe, which was found guilty of trying to kidnap 103 children.

Chadian authorities had requested that Philippe Van Winkelberg, a doctor with the charity, pay $8.6 million to the children's families, Radio France Internationale reported Saturday.

Six members of Arche de Zoe, or Zoe's Ark, attempted to smuggle 103 children out of Chad and into France in 2007. The group was convicted in N'djamena on abduction charges and ordered to serve seven years' hard labor and pay an $8.6 million fine. The six convicted in the case have since been transferred to prisons in France.

Because the 2007 trial made no mention of an individual plaintiff, the French court in the trial dismissed the Chadian authorities' request.

"During the hearing and the verdict returned in N'djamena there was no individual plaintiff," Van Winkelberg's lawyer, Francoise Davideau, told RFI. "The court ordered damages to be paid in a global way, without linking this to any named individual."

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