Home TCHAD CHAD: Imprisonment of opponents following banned demonstrations

CHAD: Imprisonment of opponents following banned demonstrations

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Several opponents were detained on Monday 8 February following their arrest on Saturday 6 February 2021. In question: they braved the ban on demonstrations imposed by the Chadian authorities. Opposition and civil society had taken to the streets to denounce the controversial sixth term of outgoing President Idriss Déby Itno. The latter wishes to run for a 6th mandate at the head of the country. 

The announcement of the candidacy of outgoing President Idriss Deby Itno for a sixth term, triggered a series of demonstrations across the country on Saturday, February 6, 2021. Members of the opposition and civil society actors have called for peaceful protests to denounce the outgoing president’s willingness to attempt to run for a sixth term after 31 years as head of Chad. Many of them were arrested and imprisoned at the N’Djamena detention centre, the capital.According to Justice Minister Djimet Arabi, the demonstrators “have been placed under warrant for disturbing public order because they have violated an order prohibiting these demonstrations.” Mahamat Nour Ahmed Ibedou, a civil society figure, is one of the people who have been given a deposit warrant. Their trial will take place on Monday, February 15.

A total of 14 people were apprehended during the demonstrations against what the opponents consider to be the “one too many mandate” of the 69-year-old Chadian President, Idriss Deby Itno. The arrested protesters are being prosecuted “for disturbing public order, wilful assault and destruction of property.” 

Born in 1952 in Fada in northern Chad, Idriss Déby Itno has ruled Chad since 1 December 1990. At the time, he led a rebellion called the “Patriotic Salvation Movement” which was later transformed into a political party. He was much appreciated by Hissène Habré with whom he had fought the transitional national union government of Goukouni Wedeye who had taken refuge in Algeria after his fall in 1982.

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Idriss Déby Itno won five successive elections in 1996, 2001, 2006, 2011 and 2016. The outgoing president, who is running in his own succession, intends to take part in the presidential election on 11 April 2021 with the promise to amend the Constitution to limit the number of terms to two. Ironically, the same Idriss Déby had proceeded in 2005 to the amendment of the Constitution by the National Assembly. Its objective at the time was to put an end to term limits.


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