News / Africa

Senegal Suspends Extradition of Former Chadian Leader

Former Chadian leader Hissene Habre, left, in Dakar, Senegal, in 2005 (file photo)
Former Chadian leader Hissene Habre, left, in Dakar, Senegal, in 2005 (file photo)

Senegal has suspended its decision to extradite former Chadian leader Hissene Habre after the United Nations said he could be tortured if sent home to Chad.

Senegalese Foreign Minister Madicke Niang says President Abdoulaye Wade's government has suspended its expulsion order against Hissene Habre and will now open “urgent” talks with the United Nations, the African Union and the European Union to find a solution.

Senegal's announcement Friday that Habre would be extradited on a charter flight Monday was meant to end years of legal arguments about what to do with the former Chadian leader who has been living in Dakar since he was overthrown more than 20 years ago.

The U.N. high commissioner for human rights Sunday urged the Senegalese government to review its decision. In a written statement, Navi Pillay said that Senegal, as a party to the Convention Against Torture, may not extradite anyone to a state “where there are substantial grounds for believing he would be in danger of being subjected to torture.”

Pillay said Senegal, at the very least, must obtain fair trial guarantees from the Chadian government. She says sending him home without those guarantees, “may amount to a violation of international law.”

A 1992 Truth Commission in Chad found Habre responsible for widespread torture and the deaths of at least 40,000 people.  Senegal put him under house arrest in 2005, when he was charged by the Belgian government for crimes against humanity based on cases brought by Chadians living in Belgium.

In 2008, Chad tried him in absentia and sentenced him to death for planning to overthrown the government.

About 100 Habre supporters gathered outside his home to celebrate Senegal's decision to suspend the extradition. Kebla Makaida is a Chadian politician living in Senegal.

Makaida says it is a celebration not only for Hissene Habre but for the victory of all democratic people who peacefully oppose unilateral and arbitrary decisions relating to kidnapping in Africa.

Habre's lawyer said the extradition amounted to a kidnapping and warned that his client would be shot on arrival in N'Djamena.

Amnesty International says Senegal has avoided putting Habre on trial for years, despite its international obligations to do so. The group says sending him back to Chad, where he faces the death penalty and an unfair trial, would bring no real justice to the thousands who suffered human rights violations during his eight-year rule.

You May Like

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs