hissène habré

Hissène Habré, the former ruler of Chad dies at 79 while serving a life sentence

The former ruler of Chad, Hissène Habré is dead at 79 years due to coronavirus infection while serving a life sentence for crimes against humanity. 

In 2016, Habré was found guilty of crimes against humanity while he was the president of African country from 1982 to 1990. The landmark trial in Senegal resulted in a conviction that was the first time ever when a court backed by African Union had conducted a trial on a former ruler against human rights violations and abuses. In trial, Habré was accused of rape, sexual slavery, and ordering killings during his term. He, however, had denied all accusations and any knowledge of the crimes. 

After he was overthrown from power in 1990, a commission of inquiry was formed against Habré that found his government guilty of carrying out at least 40,000 murders that were politically motivated, as well as 200,000 torture cases during his entire tenure in power. Survivors shared during the trial the gruesome torture carried out by Habré’s secret police. 

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Victims are said to have been subjected to electric shocks, near-asphyxia, cigarette burns, and gas squirted into their eyes, as shared by witnesses. 

Reed Brody, who was an active part of a campaign for Habré to be put on trial, commented on his death that he “will go down in history as one of the world’s most pitiless dictators, a man who slaughtered his own people”. 

Senegal trial as a result of years of campaigning by victims of Habré and their families. Following a lot of dispute and squabbling, African Union had set up a special tribunal to try the former Chadian leader. 

It was wide belief that Habré was notably backed by the CIA for his position as a barricade against Libya’s leader at that time, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. Being backed by the USA and France, Habré’s forces drove out Libyans in 1983.