Frenchman jailed for raping Nepal street children

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A Frenchman was jailed for 10 years for raping nine-year-old Nepalese street children for whom he ran a shelter in Kathmandu in the 1990s, a court official said on Tuesday.

A number of the Nepalese victims of the accused, now young adults, sat in the courtroom as Jean-Jacques Haye, 61, was sentenced after more than a decade of investigations during which he spent several years on the run.

The prosecution said he abused his position to rape 10 boys aged nine and 10 at the House of the Children of Chauni, the shelter he founded in the 1980s for orphans and street children. Haye denied the charges.

Haye was first arrested in Nepal in 1998 but bailed in 2000, according to the case file. He went back to France in 2002 where he was re-arrested and held for two years while French police investigated and interviewed his victims.

He was freed on legal restrictions pending trial in 2004 and seized the chance to flee back to Nepal, prompting police to issue an international warrant for his arrest. Nepal extradited him back to France last February.

Haye's lawyer Franck Berton alleged that Haye was a victim of "manipulation" and the young victims were after money.

© 2010 AFP

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