Chad activist gets jail term for post on leader's health

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Chad's President Idriss Deby.
Chad's President Idriss Deby.
Michael Tewelde/AFP
  • A Chadian court sentenced a rights activist to three years in jail for writing that Idriss Deby was seriously ill and being treated in France.
  • Head of the Chadian Organisation of Human Rights Baradine Berdei Targuio was arrested on 24 January, 2020 for the Facebook post claiming he was seriously ill.
  • He has been detained for over a year.


A Chadian court on Thursday sentenced a rights activist to three years in jail for writing that the country's iron-fisted ruler was seriously ill and being treated in France.

Idriss Deby has ruled Chad for over 30 years and is running for a sixth term in presidential elections in April.

Baradine Berdei Targuio, the head of the Chadian Organisation of Human Rights was arrested on 24 January, 2020 for a Facebook post in which he said Deby was "seriously ill and hospitalised in France".

He has been detained for over a year.

Deby had returned to Chad just two days before the Facebook post after nine days in France as rumours swirled about his state of health.

The Criminal Court in the capital sentenced the activist "to three years in jail for attacking the constitutional order", an AFP journalist present in the court said.

Targuio was impassive when the verdict was read, the journalist said. Amnesty International had earlier said he had been arrested by armed men wearing masks.

His lawyer told AFP: "There was no proof furnished in court of his guilt."

Targuio had repeatedly denounced Deby and his circle for rights abuses.

Last week, the Chadian government issued a new ban on anti-government protests ahead of the April presidential vote which marches and sit-ins in the capital N'Djamena and the provinces "strictly forbidden" as "they are likely to trigger disturbances to public order".

During his long rule, Deby has been accused of authoritarianism and nepotism as well as failing to address the poverty that afflicts many of Chad's 13 million people.

Despite oil wealth, the country ranks 187th out of 189 in the UN's Human Development Index (HDI).

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