Hissene Habre, former President of Chad, died in Senegal on Tuesday of Covid-19. Habre was 79.
Habre served as president of Chad from 1982 to 1990.
Habre, who was known for his brutal crackdowns on dissent and for the torture and execution of opponents. was sentenced by a court in Senegal to life imprisonment in 2016 for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Habre was the first former head of state to be convicted of crimes against humanity by another country.
Reed Brody of the International Commission of Jurists who has worked with Hissène Habré’s victims since 1999 said to Al Jazeera: ‘I am saddened by the reported death of Hissène Habré from COVID. For months, we have been calling for Habré to be vaccinated. Habre will go down in history as one of the world’s most pitiless dictators, a man who slaughtered his own people to seize and maintain power, who burned down entire villages, sent women to serve as sexual slaves for his troops and built clandestine dungeons to inflict medieval torture on his enemies.’
Amnesty International’s office for West Africa commented: ‘Hissene Habre was convicted by the African extraordinary chambers in Senegal for crimes against humanity during his presidency in Chad in the 1980s. This followed years of procedure by the victims, supported by Amnesty International and several other NGOs, in their legal fight, who are still awaiting their legally-awarded financial redress. The African Union and Chad must respond to their right.’
The head of Chad’s military government Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno offered his ‘sincere condolences’ to Habre’s family ‘and the Chadian people.’
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