Title Chad: Hope betrayed
Publisher Amnesty International
Publication Date 1 March 1997
Country Chad
Topics Arbitrary arrest and detention | Armed groups / Militias / Paramilitary forces / Resistance movements | Death in custody | Death penalty | Extrajudicial executions | Freedom from torture, inhuman and degrading treatment
Citation / Document Symbol AFR 20/004/1997
Reference Amnesty International is a worldwide voluntary movement that works to prevent some of the gravest violations by governments of people's fundamental human rights. The main focus of its campaigning is to: free all prisoners of conscience people detained an
Cite as Amnesty International, Chad: Hope betrayed, 1 March 1997, AFR 20/004/1997, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6a9870.html [accessed 22 January 2018]
Comments Amnesty International has a duty to report that 1996 and early 1997 continued to be marked by very serious human rights violations, including attacks on human rights defenders and unarmed civilians, arbitrary arrests and the systematic use of torture and ill-treatment including rape, deaths in detention and summary and extrajudicial executions. In addition, in late 1996 the Head of State and the country's highest authorities gave their official backing to the physical elimination of anyone accused of theft. Amnesty International believes that this is tantamount to the institutionalization of extrajudicial executions by the Chadian security forces. Even before the issuing of the new order disciplining any gendarme who refuses to shoot a person accused of theft, the Chadian security forces were committing such killings with impunity. In November, at least three people accused of theft, including a primary school pupil, were summarily executed by the security forces. The written instruction of the commanding officer of the special units group of the Chadian Gendarmerie has further entrenched the right of the security forces to carry out extrajudicial executions with impunity. In November and December 1996, scores of people were extrajudicially executed in N'Djaména, the capital, and in other regional towns. In addition to such extrajudicial executions carried out by firearms, many people have been tied up and thrown by the security forces into the Chari and Logone rivers. A number of mutilated and unrecognizable bodies have been retrieved from these rivers during recent months. The injuries and marks observed when these bodies were found indicate beyond doubt that the victims had been tied and that the executions had been carried out by the security forces. The detention without trial of possible prisoners of conscience continues. Between August 1996 and February 1997, scores of people, including members of non-governmental and human rights organizations, were arrested and held without charge or trial. In November 1996, three people, including Job Mbaïboungue, a Gendarmerie warrant officer, and Abel Djimon, a clerk in the public prosecutor's department, were arrested and accused of distributing the written instruction of the Commander of the Gendarmerie to physicaly eliminate those accused of theft. They are reported to be held without charge at Faya Largeau. Amnesty International considers them to be prisoners of conscience. People who were arrested in the two Logone prefectures between July and October 1995 and whose cases are described in detail in Amnesty International's October 1996 report, are still being held without charge or trial at Faya Largeau. The Minister of Justice assured the Amnesty International delegation during its April 1996 visit, that he would investigate the circumstances of the arrests and that the detainees would be released if no charges were being brought against them. Despite these assurances, these people remain imprisoned at Faya Largeau without charge or trial. The use of torture, of which Amnesty International obtained a significant number of testimonies during its April 1996 mission, increased with the order issued to gendarmes in November 1996 to kill presumed thieves. The security forces appear to have systematically tortured prisoners before executing them. Most of the alleged thieves, who were publicly displayed in village squares before their execution, bore the marks of arbatachar which consists of tying the victims arms and legs behind the back, causing extreme pain,open wounds, and in some cases, gangrene. All bodies found in recent months in the Chari and Logone rivers were scarred on the wrists and ankles. As in the past, several people held by the security services have died in circumstances suggesting that their deaths resulted directly or indirectly from ill-treatment during arrest or detention, malnutrition or poor prison conditions. Armed opposition groups have also been responsible for serious abuses against the civilian population. Amnesty International has received information on the arrest and torture of four people in June 1996 by the Mouvement pour la Démocratie et le Développement, Movement for Democracy and Development, including Somaine Adam Moustapha, a member of the Commission électorale nationale indépendante, Independent National Electoral Commission. The Forces armées pour la République fédérale, Armed Forces for the Federal Republic, were also responsible for human rights abuses. Several people, including Nandji Laokoura, the village headman of Tilo, Logone Occidental and Laurent Beram, from the village of Mbikou, Logone Oriental were killed in December 1996 and February 1997 respectively.
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