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Djibouti: Italian Priest Jailed On Child Sex Charges

Issue 308
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Milano, December 14, 2007 – An Italian priest has been jailed for over 40 days in the eastern African country of Djibouti, over child sex charges, according to the Italian daily Corriere Della Sera.

Sandro De Pretis, missionary in Djibouti since 1993, has been in jail since 28 October.

Bishop of Djibouti, Italian national Giorgio Bertin told the newspaper he believed that Sandro De Pretis is victim of a conspiracy.

"Sandro is being accused by Port Ouvert, a non-governmental organization, that did the same in 1995 with French judge Bernard Borrel," he said.

Borrel was later found dead in Djibouti. According to the French government, who later re-opened the case, Borrel had been assassinated.

Bertin said the Port Ouvert organization was retaliating because it was evicted from a Caritas building when Sandro was the director.

Italian honorary consul to Djibouti, Gianni Rizzo, said a legal inquiry was underway.

"There is an ongoing inquiry, and this is a legally constituted state," he said. "The priest has a lawyer that can defend him and at its proper time, we'll know how things went."

But the church vehemently denies the accusations calling them "defamatory lies".

Djibouti is a predominantly Muslim country with a small Christian minority.

Source: AKI

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