Senegal: Hissène Habré remains in prison as court rejects his request

The new request for leave filed by the defense of Hissène Habré on March 29 was denied on Sunday, April 18. The former Chadian president was sentenced in 2016 to life imprisonment by an African court for crimes against humanity during his years in power from 1982 to 1990. Since his conviction, he has been serving his sentence in the Cap Manuel prison in Dakar. He had already benefited in April 2020 from a 60-day release from prison, granted by the Senegalese judiciary because of the Covid-19 pandemic and despite the outrage of the collective of victims of his regime.
Hissène Habré’s lawyers had requested a new leave of absence based on the “state of health” of the 79-year-old former Chadian leader.
This request was denied by the enforcement judge in Dakar. “The reasoning behind the refusal of the leave is that the question of health is the responsibility of the prison administration,” his lawyers said in a statement. They note that his first leave in April 2020 had been granted “by the same judge” given his vulnerability to coronavirus. They then denounce a “rule of law (…) with variable geometry”.
“It is only justice,” said Kaltouma Deffalah, a victim of Hissène Habré’s regime, who reacted in a Human Rights Watch statement. “The man who enslaved me must serve his sentence in accordance with the law,” said the flight attendant, who is calling for the court-ordered compensation to be paid.
In total, more than 7,300 victims are expected to receive around 125 million euros in compensation.

About Geraldine Boechat 1737 Articles
Senior Editor for Medafrica Times and former journalist for Swiss National Television. former NGO team leader in Burundi and Somalia