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Reactions multiplied on Wednesday the day after the death of former Chadian dictator Hissène Habré. While some evoke “one of the most bloodthirsty executioners”, others wonder about the circumstances of his death. Chad will not pay him any official tribute because of his convictions.
The day after the death, Tuesday, August 24, of Hissène Habré, reactions multiply, both on the personality of the former Chadian dictator, as on the circumstances of his death.
The Senegalese authorities have ruled out the hypothesis that he was contaminated by Covid-19 in prison, anticipating the reproach of having remained deaf to the authorities of his relatives.
Hissène Habré’s wife and entourage had been invoking the dangers of Covid-19 for months to urge Senegal to let him out of prison. The ex-dictator eventually succumbed to the disease at the age of 79, Tuesday morning, in a public hospital, where he had been transferred after a visit to a private clinic.
Hissène Habré was serving a life sentence at Cape Manuel prison in Dakar, following a conviction in 2016 for crimes against humanity by an African court.
“Proud of the way we welcomed Habré”
Placed in prison custody at his home in Dakar, Hissène Habré returned to his cell after 60 days. Justice had, in April 2021, refused a new request for release.
At the end of July, his wife Fatimé Raymonne Habré asked in a letter for the support of human rights organizations, describing her husband as suffering from diabetes, hypertension and exhaustion.
Civil society figures recently spoke in favor of a less rigorous regime, such as human rights defender Alioune Tine, in favor of an exit permit.
“We could have avoided (his death) by freeing him and leaving him just at home for medical treatment. But unfortunately the Senegalese state did not react, and unfortunately the African leaders did not react,” he said. Kelley Chidi Djorkodei told AFP, who introduced himself as one of his nephews among the Chadians who came to the hospital where Hissène Habré died.
For its part, the prison administration has cleared customs. Since the start of the pandemic, no case of contamination has been recorded in the prisons of Dakar and the tests carried out on the guards at the prison of Cape Manuel have come back negative, she assured.
“We must all be proud of the way we welcomed Habré,” assured the Minister of Justice. “Where he is, he knows that Senegal has lived up to the Téranga”, the tradition of Senegalese hospitality, he added.
Those closest to Hissène Habré have not spoken publicly. The private clinic where he was admitted did not immediately respond to AFP’s requests.
“One of the most bloodthirsty executioners”
With Hissène Habré, who ruled Chad from 1982 to 1990, “he is one of the most bloodthirsty executioners in the history of mankind who has just disappeared,” one of the lawyers told AFP. of the victims, William Bourdon.
Hissène Habré leaves in Chad the image of a warlord and great patriot who sought to consolidate the young state, but whose presidency remains tainted by fierce repression. It will also have been marked by the confrontation, with the support of France and the United States, with the Libyan forces of Muammar Gaddafi.
The current Chadian number one, Mahamat Idriss Déby, son of Idriss Déby Itno, who overthrew Hissène Habré in 1990 to rule the country with an iron fist for 30 years, offered his “sincere condolences to his family and to the people. Chadian “. “To God we belong and to Him we return,” he said on Twitter.
Having learned this morning of the sudden death of former President Hissein Habré, I extend my sincere condolences to his family and to the people of Chad. To God we belong and to Him we return.
– Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno (@GmahamatIdi) August 24, 2021
The first official Chadian reactions greeted the statesman more than they spoke of his misdeeds.
The place of his burial remains to be determined. Chad will not oppose the repatriation of the remains, but “will not pay him any official tribute because of his condemnations and out of respect for his victims,” Abderaman Koulamallah, government spokesman, told AFP.
The family has not publicly expressed their wishes. A diplomat speaking on condition of anonymity stressed that the decision involved Senegal and possibly the African Union for its involvement in the trial of Hissène Habré.