Chad denies it tortured rebel leader

2011-09-17 20:18
N'Djamena - Chad on Saturday "categorically denied" claims that it tortured a late rebel leader while he was in prison.

Chad's ANCD rebel group last week issued a statement claiming that their military commander Djibrine Azene, who was arrested in August of last year but pardoned in January, died from health complications related to torture.

"Chad, a country of laws that respects international treaties, never practices tortures in its prisons and so I categorically deny the accusations," Information Minister Hassan Sylla Bakari told AFP in a statement.

"Colonel Djibrine Azene died due to kidney complications. Medical certificates from his doctors and the accounts of his own parents can attest to that," the statement added.

Azene, who fought to oust President Idriss Deby Itno, died in his home village on Tuesday, according to his rebel group.

Deby pardoned Azene in January along with four other rebel leaders who had been sentenced to death or life imprisonment for threatening state security.

ANCD leader Mahamat Nouri on Thursday claimed that Azene was "subjected to inhuman torture" in prison and was "very weak and sick" after his release, a condition that led to his death.

Information minister Sylla called the claims "shameless."

Deby, who took power in 1990 coup, was re-elected in May with 89% support in a vote boycotted by opposition groups.

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