Jailed former Chadian President Hissene Habre dies of COVID-19

Former Chadian President Hissene Habre has died in Senegal at the age of 79. He was reported dead on August 24, 2021 from the complications of COVID-19.

Habre who was president of Chad from 1982 to 1990, was found guilty in 2016 of crimes committed while he was Head of State.

He was convicted of crimes against humanity, war crimes, and torture, including sexual violence and rape, on May 30, 2016 by the Extraordinary African Chambers in the Senegalese court system and sentenced to life in prison. On April 27, 2017, an appeals court confirmed the verdict and ordered him to pay approximately €123 million compensation to victims. The trial happened 25 years after Habre was overthrown and he fled to Senegal.

Habre’s trial and conviction was the first time an African Union-backed court had tried a former ruler for human rights abuses. He was accused of being behind rape, sexual slavery and ordering killings while in power. He denied any knowledge of all the crimes.

A commission of inquiry formed in Chad after he was deposed in 1990 said his government carried out about 40,000 politically motivated murders and 200,000 cases of torture during his eight years in power.

After he was sentenced to life in Dakar he was able to benefit from a 60-day prison release during the first wave of COVID-19. He was however denied a second exemption during the third wave of the pandemic.

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