Spanish air crew in Chad released today

Remaining members of Spanish air crew arrested in Chad to be released

The three remaining member of the Spanish air crew who have been in custody in Chad since 25th October are expected to be freed shortly. The pilot, co-pilot and their assistant were arrested along with 4 air stewards when they were involved in attempting to fly 103 Chadian children from Chad to Paris. The flight never took off and all members of the air crew who worked for Girjet, a Catalan company, were arrested as well as 6 members of the French charity ‘Zoe’s Ark’ which had contracted Girjet to take the children to Paris where they were to be adopted.

The Spanish Foreign Secretary Bernardino León, arrived in Niger this morning where he is awaiting confirmation of the decision by the Chadian judiciary to free the remaining 3 Spaniards. Their imminent release comes after the president of the French charity, Eric Breteau, excused all members of the air crew from any responsibility in the operation in which 103 Chadian children were to be taken to Paris.

Jean Bernard Padaré the French lawyer, representing the Spanish members of the air crew had presented their request to be released to a judge on Tuesday and the decision to free them is expected to be announced in court today. He said that the pilot Agustín Rey, the co-pilot Sergio Muñoz and their assistant Daniel González, will be taken from prison to court and then they will travel to Spain in the same plane as the Foreign Secretary.

Recent investigations into the case suggest that the children were not orphans and were removed from their families without their parents’ consent. The main suspects in the case are the 6 members of ‘Zoe’s Ark’.