Annual Report: Chad 2013

Report
May 23, 2013

Annual Report: Chad 2013

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Republic of Chad

Head of state Idriss Déby Itno

Head of government Emmanuel Djelassem Nadingar

Trade unionists, journalists and human rights defenders were intimidated and the criminal justice system was used to harass political opponents. People continued to be arbitrarily arrested and held in lengthy pre-trial detention. Many children were recruited as child soldiers. Prison conditions remained extremely harsh. Impunity for human rights violations and abuses continued.

Background

Chad continued to host a large number of refugees and internally displaced persons. According to the UN, as of 31 December, there were 281,000 Sudanese refugees in 12 refugee camps in eastern Chad and 79,000 refugees from the Central African Republic in the south, in addition to 120,000 internally displaced people in various sites on the border with Darfur, Sudan.

Rebel leader Abdel Kader Baba Laddé of the Popular Front for Redress (Front populaire pour le redressement, FPR), who was based in northern Central African Republic, returned to Chad in September after negotiations between the FPR and the Chadian and Central African Republic governments. He was accused by human rights groups of recruiting child soldiers.

Cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment

Cruel, inhuman or degrading punishments, including beatings, continued to be widely practised by security forces and prison guards, with almost total impunity.

Detention without trial

Most prisoners were held in lengthy pre-trial detention. Several had spent years in detention without the authorities being aware of their presence. In March, a 17-year-old boy had spent more than 18 months in Doba prison without the knowledge of the local prosecutor.

Arbitrary arrests and detentions

People continued to be arrested and detained without charge. Detainees were routinely held in police cells as well as in secret detention facilities.

Prison conditions

Conditions remained harsh, amounting to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. Cells were severely overcrowded, and food and drinking water were inadequate. There was no health care in prisons, including for serious transmissible diseases such as tuberculosis. Men, women and children were held together indiscriminately in the majority of prisons. No mechanisms were in place to allow prisoners to complain about their treatment.

  • Inmates were often chained in the prisons in Abéché, Sarh and Doba. In March, at least 15 prisoners were chained by their legs day and night in Abéché prison.

Enforced disappearances

No effective action was taken to bring to justice those suspected in the disappearance of opposition leader Ibni Oumar Mahamat Saleh. His whereabouts remained unknown more than four years after his arrest in February 2008. A 2009 report of a national commission of inquiry had confirmed that he was arrested from his home by eight members of the security forces.

Harassment of political opponents

Chadian officials continued to use the criminal justice system to harass political opponents and influence the judiciary.

  • In March, opposition MP Gali Ngothé Gatta of the United Democratic Forces (Union des Forces Démocratiques) was arrested and sentenced to one year’s imprisonment for attempted corruption and poaching by the Tribunal of first instance in Sahr, southern Chad. He was tried and sentenced three days after his arrest, despite his parliamentary immunity not being lifted. He was detained in Sahr prison and later transferred to Moundou prison following an appeal. On 24 April, the Moundou Court of Appeal annulled the proceedings due to “grave flaws” and ordered the release of Gali Ngothé Gatta. The Supreme Court later confirmed the Court of Appeal’s ruling.
  • Emmanuel Dekeumbé, a judge at the Moundou Court of Appeal who refused to sentence Gali Ngothé Gatta and denounced the procedural irregularities, was dismissed by the Supreme Judicial Council (Conseil supérieur de la Magistrature). The decision was confirmed by a Presidential ordinance in July.

Freedom of expression

Church leaders