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Chad should release Zoe's Ark Personnel

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Chadian President, right, hurling abuse at a Spanish suspect

According to Mr. Ahmad Daoud Chari, the state prosecutor of Abeche---the Chadian city where the staff members of the French group “Arche de Zoe” were arrested with more than one hundred children ready to be flown to France---the penal code of Chad is just a blank register: there are no laws written in the books to deal with such crimes. “There are no other penalties in the abduction chapter [of the criminal code] stronger than the one we chose,” Mr. Chari told reporters of IRIN, the news agency of the UN Office for the Coordination of the Humanitarian Affairs. He then added: “Our penal code is limited. It doesn't cover [many] infractions. There is a gap.” In other words, Chad is a nomad rogue lawless state. One then wonders on what basis the Chadian Chief Prosecutor is seeking 20 years against the suspects. Worse, in a country where the whims of the head-of-state have oftentimes force of law (where the court system has no jury of peers), President IDRISS DEBY, in a rush of hot blood into his brains, hurled vile abuse at the suspects in front of the world media, accusing them, without one iota of evidence, of being part of a vast network of criminals specialized in supplying new flesh to pedophiles and body parts to rogue organ banks! The spectacle at the Airport of N'Djamena, the Chadian capital, just showed the world how so-called conspiracies by opposition leaders are cooked by paranoid African heads of states to justify the extra-judicial elimination of their political enemies. In the meantime, Chadians are cheering their president for having thumbed his nose at the whites all the while forgetting about the ongoing rebellion and the government's lack of transparency in managing the oil royalty revenues. The news this morning is that French President Nicolas Sarkozy is heading to Chad for talks with President Deby to free at least the 3 French journalists and the Spanish female crewmembers being also held as accessories. This smacks of utter diplomatic stupidity. French authorities knew about Zoe's Ark trip months ago. It's even the French Airforce that helped them all along. Observers fear that Sarkozy is trying to save the EUFOR troop deployment along the Chadian-Darfur border in sudden jeopardy because of this diplomatic debacle and would readily leave Zoe's Ark members to rot in Chadian insanitary jails... Until Chad stops being a nomad rogue lawless state and actually starts writing laws, it has no business holding foreign subjects in its custody. If crime was in progress, send back home to France Zoe's Ark personnel to face trial...

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Alex Engwete is a Congolese-American who lives in Kinshasa (DRC) and Washington, DC. Outrage at injustices is what usually stirs him into blogging in French or in English. He likes Congolese beers and drinks "Samuel Adams" while in the United (more...)

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