N’DJAMENA: More than 400 rebels in Chad were handed life sentences on Tuesday following the death of former ruler Idriss Deby Itno, who was killed in 2021, a public prosecutor said.
After a mass trial, they were sentenced for “acts of terrorism, mercenarism, recruitment of child soldiers and assaulting the head of state,” said Mahamat El-Hadj Abba Nana, prosecutor for the capital N’Djamena.
He did not give a detailed figure for those jailed, saying only that “more than 400 were sentenced” to life, while 24 other defendants were acquitted.
The trial opened last month behind closed doors at Klessoum prison, 20 kilometres southeast of the capital.
In early 2021, the country’s main rebel group, the Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT), launched an offensive on the north of the country.
On April 20, the army announced that Marshal Deby, Chad’s iron-fisted ruler for the previous three decades, had died from wounds sustained in the fighting. His death was announced just a day after he had been declared victor of a presidential election that gave him a sixth term in office.
He was immediately succeeded by one of his sons, General Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno, who took the helm at the head of a 15-member military junta.
Several defendants were also ordered to pay damages of more than $32 million to the state and $1.6 million to the ex-president’s family, said FACT lawyer Francis Lokoulde.
“It’s a masquerade that follows no law, no convention”, said FACT leader Mahamat Mahdi Ali. — AFP