Africa’s Pinochet temporarily released from prison due to COVID-19

Chad’s former ruler Hissene Habre has been granted two months leave from prison in Senegal, where he is serving life for crimes against humanity.

The prison is being used to hold new detainees in coronavirus quarantine.

Habre, who ruled Chad from 1982 to 1990, was convicted of war crimes and crimes against humanity at an African Union-backed trial in the Senegalese capital Dakar in 2016.

Dubbed “Africa’s Pinochet”, Habre was arrested in 2013 and tried in Senegal. His trial set a global precedent as the first time a country had prosecuted the former leader of another nation for rights abuses, and was seen as a landmark example of African rights abuses being tried on the continent.

Habre was convicted of rape, sexual slavery and ordering killings during his rule from 1982 to 1990. He denied accusations that he ordered the killing of 40,000 people during his rule.

AFP news agency reports that his lawyer had requested 60 daysleave for the ex-president because he was “particularly vulnerable” to coronavirus, according to the judge’s order.
Habre will serve the temporary leave at his home in Ouakam, a district of Senegal’s capital, Dakar, and to return to prison afterwards.

An association of victims of his regime last week said, “The health crisis should not be used as an excuse for the early release of Hissene Habre.”

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