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Charity officials sentenced to prison

Feb. 13, 2013 at 9:51 AM   |   Comments

PARIS, Feb. 13 (UPI) -- The founder and partner of the French charity Zoe's Ark have been sentenced to two years in prison for trying to smuggle 103 children out of Africa to France.

Founder Eric Breteau and partner Emilie LeLouch intended to give the supposed orphans from war-torn Darfur to French families who paid as much as $9,342 to adopt a child, Britain's The Guardian reported Wednesday.

The two were arrested along with 13 others in October 2007 when they tried to board a charter flight in Chad with 103 children.

Police said the children, ranging from toddlers to 10-year-olds, were wearing fake bandages to make them look ill.

An investigation by UNICEF and the Red Cross found at least 85 percent of the children had living parents and were from Chad, not Sudan.

Breteau and Lelouch were sentenced to eight years forced labor in Chad before being transferred to a Paris jail. They were pardoned by Chad's president clearing the way for a French trial.

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