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Tuesday, 28 August, 2001, 10:25 GMT 11:25 UK
Amnesty urges Habre extradition
Former President of Chad Hissene Habre
Mr Habre has been in exile since his overthrow in 1990
By Chris Simpson in Dakar

Human rights organisation Amnesty International has called on the Senagalese Government to hand over the former leader of Chad, Hissene Habre, so that he can be put on trial for crimes of torture.

Mr Habre has spent the last decade in Senegal after being overthrown by the current Chadian President Idriss Deby in 1990.

Torture victims and human rights organisations have campaigned for Mr Habre to be put on trial in Senegal.

But the Senegalese legal authorities say they cannot judge him.

Senegal's President Abdoulaye Wade said he wants Mr Habre to leave the country, but has not said when this should happen.

Amnesty International has just held its international council meeting in Dakar and received a strong tribute from Mr Wade for its human rights work over the past 40 years.

Serious abuses

Amnesty International says that Hissene Habre committed serious human rights abuses during his eight years in power, and that the former ruler of Chad must be brought to court.

Amnesty has written to President Wade urging him to hand over Mr Habre to a government or international body which can put him on trial.

Senegal's President Abdoulaye Wade
President Wade: Wants Habre to go
Chadian torture victims and human rights activists have carried out a long campaign against Mr Habre.

They have provided extensive documentation on alleged abuses carried out by the Chadian security forces, acting under his authorisation.

Setback

But the campaign received a serious setback in March when a Senegalese court ruled that Senegal's legal system had no jurisdiction over past events in Chad and could do nothing with Mr Habre.

President Wade backs that view, but told the BBC in April that he wanted to end Mr Habre's exile in Senegal and had asked him to leave.

But Mr Wade has declined to set a deadline for Mr Habre's departure and there has been no indication on where he might go.

Hissene Habre arrived in Senegal in late 1990 at the invitation of Senegal's former president Abdou Diouf.

Since then he has maintained a generally low profile, living in a village on the outskirts of the capital, Dakar.

In the few interviews he has given, Mr Habre has strongly defended his record in government and talked of an international conspiracy against him.

See also:

07 Apr 01 | Africa
Senegal orders Habre out
20 Mar 01 | Africa
No trial for 'Africa's Pinochet'
05 Jul 00 | Africa
Anger over Habre acquittal
05 May 00 | Africa
Crisis on all fronts for Chad
10 Jan 01 | Country profiles
Country profile: Chad
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