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400 Chadian rebels receive life sentences in assassination of former president

400 Chadian rebels receive life sentences in assassination of former president
Rebel leader Mahamat Mahdi Ali, others convicted of terrorism, endangering life of President Idriss Deby

By James Tasamba

KIGALI, Rwanda (AA) - A Chadian court handed down life sentences Tuesday to more than 400 rebels in connection with the death of former President Idriss Deby Itno.

Sentences for members of the FACT (Front for Change and Concord in Chad) rebel group were given by the Specialized Criminal Chamber of the N'Djamena Court of Appeal.

Of the 440 defendants, only 24 were acquitted, according to the Chad Information Agency.

FACT leader, Mahamat Ali Mahadi and the other defendants were “sentenced to life imprisonment for terrorism, mercenarism, endangering the life of the head of state and enlistment of minors in the army,” it said.

Mahadi and six others received life terms in absentia.

An international arrest warrant could be issued for those defendants.

The court also ordered Mahadi and the others to pay 20 billion CFA francs ($32.8 million) to the Chadian state for damages and 1 billion CFA francs to beneficiaries of the late president.

The trial was opened last month in the Chadian capital of N'Djamena behind closed doors.

Prosecutor General Mahamat El-hadj Baba Nana said the trial was critical for Chadian justice.

The rebels were captured in 2021 during clashes with the army in the north of the country where Deby died.

Deby, who had ruled the country for 30 years, died on the front lines several hundred kilometers north of the capital where he had gone to visit troops battling the rebels.

Following Deby’s death, a military council led by his son, Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno, was instituted to govern the country for an 18-month transition and hand over power to an elected government last October. But that deadline was not met.

Mahamat Deby was inaugurated last year as transition president after being named by the National Sovereign Inclusive Dialogue forum.

The military extended the transition period to elections by two years.

In October 2022, about 50 people were killed and more than 300 injured after security forces opened fire on protesters demanding an end to military rule.

source: News Feed
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