France hopes to retrieve journalists

Reporters arrested in Chad trying to free orphans

PARIS — France 3 news director Paul Nahon is due to fly to Chad on Saturday in an effort to secure the release of reporter Marie-Agnes Paleran and two French photojournalists arrested in Chad Oct. 25 while trying to fly 103 Sudanese orphans to France.

Accompanied by Robert Menard, president of press freedom lobby group Reporters Without Borders, Nahon will try to appeal directly to the Chadian government.

Peleran was with six members of French charity Zoe’s Ark when she was arrested. Although on personal leave, Peleran was filming the group’s activities with a France 3 camera.

Representatives for the journalists and the Spanish flight crew said they were unaware of any problems and thought they were in Chad on a humanitarian mission.

The Chadian government said Zoe’s Ark dressed some children in bandages to make them look like refugees in need of medical help. If convicted on kidnapping and fraud charges, the French trio could face up to 20 years hard labor.

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