British paedophile suspect in Ethiopian court

British paedophile suspect in Ethiopian court


Reuters- Monday August 20, 03:57 PM


      ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - A British man has appeared before an Ethiopian court on charges of trafficking in and sexually abusing children while running an orphanage in the Horn of Africa country, diplomats have said.


      David Christie is suspected of abusing the children while running an orphanage for Swiss-based children's charity Terre des Hommes in 1996, the charity said.


      The first hearing in the trial began at 1200 GMT (1 p.m. British time), officials at the British High Commission in Addis Ababa said on Monday.


      Terre des Hommes said Christie was seized at Addis Ababa airport on Friday while on a transit flight from Zambia.


      The arrest followed a joint operation between Ethiopian and Zambian police who believe he was seeking to open a children's home in their country.


      Laura Williams, the British High Commission's second secretary for political affairs and information, said Christie had been in police custody since Friday morning.


      "The High Commission's vice consul visited the suspect on Friday and handed him a list of lawyers to contact for his defence," she told Reuters.


      Terre des Hommes Desk Officer for Ethiopia and Uganda, Colin Tucker, said three Ethiopian boys had filed complaints with the police for crimes allegedly committed by the man at a centre he ran for children orphaned by famine.


      Terre des Hommes said they had fired the man in 1997 when the crimes were discovered.