A Chadian court has issued a death sentence for exiled former President Hissene Habre.

Court officials in the capital, N'djamena, say 11 Chadian rebel leaders also were sentenced to death in absentia Friday. The defendants were accused of crimes against state security and trying to overturn the constitutional order.

Thirty-one other rebels were convicted in absentia and sentenced to life with hard labor.

Habre's lawyer, El Hadji Diouf, reacted angrily to news of the death sentence, saying he had heard nothing of a trial in Chad.

Habre has been living in Senegal since fleeing Chad in 1990, when his government was overthrown by current President Idriss Deby.

Senegal has moved closer to putting Habre on trial for human rights abuses. He is accused of killing tens of thousands of political opponents and torturing hundreds of thousands of others during his rule. He has denied the accusations.

Last month, Senegal's parliament passed legislation that set the legal framework to put the former president on trial. The measure abolished the statute of limitations on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity.

Among those sentenced to death is Mahamat Nouri of the rebel National Alliance. Chad has accused Nouri of taking part in a failed coup attempt in February that left 700 people dead.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.