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22-08-2008 21:23:17
Senegal – Justice – Habré
Habré’s legal defence dubs Chadian court « underground, unfair" over death sentence

APA-Dakar (Senegal) The defence of Hissène Habre, on Friday deplored what he dubbed "the underground trial" by a Chadian court that slammed a death sentence in absentia against the former Chadian President.

"Until he was sentenced to death by a criminal court in Chad, nobody ever heard about an accusation against Mr. Habré" the former president’s defence, François Serres, a lawyer of the Paris Bar, said at a press conference.

Besides, the Chadian justice refuses to publish the decision on his condemnation, Serres said.

Habré was condemned for war crimes and crimes against humanity on 15 August 2008.

According to Mr. Serres, there was no complaint, instruction or accusation file notified to the accused.

"Where is the freedom of speech for President Habre?" Mr. Serres asked, and expressed regrets that the Chadian judiciary was not independent.

For the lawyer El Hadj Diouf, also part of Habré’s defence, "the trial is an underground thing followed by an underground decision".

Habre’s lawyers argue that if the decision of the Chadian judiciary condemning Habre has been published seven days later, one can wonder whether "this is not with the intent of changing the content."

According to Chadian authorities, Mr. Habre was sentenced only after rebels attacked N’Djamena last February 2008.

Droits de reproduction Agence de Presse Africaine 2006 - Autorisés avec mention de la source