Chad’s former President Hissene Habre has died aged 79 - after testing positive for COVID-19. He was serving a life sentence in Senegal for war crimes, crimes against humanity and torture. Under his rule, Habre enforced a brutal crackdown on dissent - where tens of thousands of people were killed.
Africa's Pinochet: Hissene Habre earned his nickname as he ruled Chad with an iron fist for 8 years in the 1980s.
Cunning and charismatic, Chad's former dictator seized power in a CIA-backed coup in 1982. His paranoid and brutal regime was supported by France and the United States and based on ruthless repression. His secret police killed as many as 40,000 Chadians and kidnapped, tortured or raped 200,000 more. Habre was overthrown by rebels in 1990 and fled to Senegal.
There, he lived freely and comfortably for 22 years in an upmarket suburb of Dakar. All this time, Habre’s victims were working to see him pay for his crimes. And finally, on a Sunday morning in 2013, Habre was arrested.
In court, the ex-despot resisted, denying any knowledge of the crimes. But in 2016, Habre was condemned in what has been called "Africa’s trial of the century."
It was the first time an African Union-backed court convicted a former head of state for crimes against humanity. He was sentenced to life imprisonment.
Behind bars, Habre remained silent until the end. Those who suffered received not a single word of contrition nor a single cent in compensation. And so, for his victims, the fight for justice continues.
00:00 Hissene Habre dead of COVID-19 at 79
03:44 Habre's victims: Will they find justice?
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