Hissène Habré, ex-president of Chad, died at 79

Hissène Habré, the former president of Chad, died while serving a life sentence for crimes against humanity, including murder, torture a...


Hissène Habré, the former president of Chad, died while serving a life sentence for crimes against humanity, including murder, torture and sexual offenses, during his reign in the 1980s. He was 79 years old. years.

Mr. Habré’s death on Tuesday morning was confirmed by Lieutenant Mame Balla Faye, director of Cap Manuel prison in Senegal, the West African country where Mr. Habré was being held after being sentenced there. Mr. Faye did not provide further details.

At the time of his death, however, he was not in prison, according to media reports. He had spent 10 days at a nearby clinic receiving treatment for complications from diabetes and high blood pressure, Senegalese media reported. Some have reported that he died after being infected with the coronavirus.

Mr Habré was released from prison for 60 days in April 2020 because a judge said he was particularly vulnerable to the coronavirus. His wife had long asked the Senegalese authorities to release him for health reasons even before the pandemic.

When Mr. Habré was sentenced in 2016, he became the first former head of state to be convicted of crimes against humanity by courts in another country. His victims celebrated their hard-won victory in the Dakar courtroom, after struggling for justice for decades. But five years later, nearly 8,000 victims are still awaiting the $ 150 million in compensation awarded to them jointly.

“Since the trial, five years have passed. Nothing has been done, ”said Clément Abaifouta, president of the Association of Victims of Crimes of the Hissène Habré regime. “The Dakar court did not seize his property. The African Union, which is handling the file, is doing nothing. So far, Hissène Habré has not paid a cent. Nothing.”

Mr. Abaifouta was arrested as a young student and spent four years in one of Mr. Habré’s notorious prisons, an experience he says ruined his life. He was forced to dig the graves of his friends and cellmates, many of whom died due to poor detention conditions. He became known as the “gravedigger”.

He said Mr. Habré’s death would bring no relief to his victims, as many former subordinates had not been brought to justice and still permeated the Chadian government.

“Now, in Chad, you have governors, you have brigade commanders, commissioners, presidential advisers, who have all worked with Hissène Habré,” said Mr. Abaifouta. “So the victims are still afraid, even if Hissène Habré is no longer there. They are everywhere, these people.

Reed Brody, who has worked with Mr. Habré’s victims for more than two decades, said the former president “would go down in history as one of the world’s most ruthless dictators, a man who slaughtered his own people to seize and maintain power, who burned down descended entire villages, sent women to serve as sex slaves to their troops and built underground dungeons to inflict medieval torture on their enemies.

A Chadian truth commission found that Mr. Habré’s government killed more than 40,000 people suspected of being enemies of the state, including those who were simply suspected, during his reign from 1982 to 1990.

Mr. Habré took power in a coup with the help of the United States, and he received arms and assistance from France, Israel and the United States to hold on to distance Libya, neighbor to the north of Chad.

He lost power in 1990 as he took it, in a coup, and fled to Senegal. His successor, Idriss Déby, died on the battlefield last April, and was replaced by his son.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Hissène Habré, ex-president of Chad, died at 79
Hissène Habré, ex-president of Chad, died at 79
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