Ambassador flies to Chad over arrested Spaniards
29 October 2007, Madrid - (EFE).- The Spanish ambassador to Cameroon flew to Chad to protest over the treatment of seven Spanish employees of Barcelona-based charter company Girjet who were arrested this week in Chad as part of a probe of alleged illegal adoptions.
29 October 2007
Madrid - (EFE).- The Spanish ambassador to Cameroon flew to Chad to protest over the treatment of seven Spanish employees of Barcelona-based charter company Girjet who were arrested this week in Chad as part of a probe of alleged illegal adoptions.
The seven, who are due to appear before a court on Monday, after being arrested Thursday in this African state.
They were manning an aircraft chartered by French non-governmental organization L'Arche de Zoe (Zoe's Ark) to take 103 children - apparently among the refugees who have fled the fighting in the Darfur region of neighboring Sudan - to France for medical care.
Nine members of L'Arche de Zoe were also taken into custody.
The Chadian government has said the NGO had no authorization for the operation and pledged severe punishment for those involved in the alleged illegal trafficking in children.
But an executive of the charter company, Antonio Cajal, told Efe that the plane on which the seven Spanish crew members were traveling had all the necessary permits from Chadian authorities to land in the central African nation.
The Foreign Ministry said that, although Spain's consul in Cameroon - the diplomat charged with attending to the case because Spain has no diplomatic representation in Chad - had not yet arrived in the central African country, he was being kept informed constantly of their status through the French ambassador in Chad.
According to the information it has received from French authorities, the Foreign Ministry said the Spaniards are doing well considering the circumstances of being held by security forces in a country like Chad.
Cajal earlier Saturday had urged the Foreign Ministry to "intervene in the matter" and promptly send a diplomatic delegation to clarify the situation of the crew members, adding that it is "very serious" that there are seven Spanish detainees in Chad "without news from them and without knowing their status."
He said Chad is "a conflictive country where for years security has been quite poor" and called for rapid intervention by the Spanish government because it is unclear what the Chadian authorities there "will do with them."
Cajal said the flight to Chad was chartered by an aviation "broker" to carry out a humanitarian flight - whose purpose was the "repatriation of children" - and showed Efe the authorization that Girjet had received from the African country for the mission. EFE
Subject: Spanish news