More than 400 rebels were sentenced on Tuesday (March 21st) to life imprisonment in Chad, including for "endangering the life" of former President Idriss Déby Itno, killed at the front in 2021 during their offensive, the prosecutor's office told AFP.
"More than 400 people have been sentenced" to life imprisonment for "act of terrorism, mercenarism, enlistment of children in the army and attack on the life of the head of state," said the prosecutor general of N'Djamena Mahamat El-Hadj Abba Nana, without giving precise figures on the number of people convicted. He added that "24 people were acquitted" at the end of this trial, which began more than a month ago.
The hearings of the Criminal Court of the Court of Appeal of N'Djamena took place behind closed doors in the grounds of Klessoum prison, about twenty kilometers southeast of the capital in a country regularly singled out for mass trials.
>> Read: Chad's crackdown 'has shattered what little hope has been raised by national dialogue'
In the spring of 2021, the most powerful rebel group at the time, the Front pour l'Alternance et la Concorde au Tchad (FACT), launched an offensive from its rear bases in Libya towards the capital N'Djamena.
On 20 April, the army announced that Marshal Déby, who had ruled Chad for more than 30 years with an iron fist, had been killed at the front by the rebels and appointed one of his sons, the young General Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno, President of the Republic for a transitional period, to head a military junta of fifteen generals.
The verdict comes three months after 262 people, out of 401 defendants, including 80 minors, were sentenced to lengthy prison terms, after being arrested before, during and after a protest that turned bloody on 20 October 2022.
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