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Chad’s President Deby pardons 259 protesters jailed last year

Chad’s President Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno on Monday pardoned 259 of the 262 protesters jailed last year after protests which turned into deadly clashes between police and demonstrators.

“Persons convicted on December 2 2022 for unauthorised assembly, destruction of property, arson, violence and assault, assault and battery, and public order offences… benefit from a presidential pardon,” a presidential decree stated.

The decision came days after a group of 380 rebels handed life sentences over the 2021 death of former ruler Idriss Deby Itno, the current president’s father, were also pardoned.

Last month the country’s human rights commission (CNDH) said a total of 128 people died in the violent repression of opposition protests in Chad last October, decrying “human rights violations”.

Opposition groups called the demonstrations, in the capital N’Djamena and other towns, last October to mark the date when the ruling military had initially promised to hand over power — a timeline now extended for another two years by General Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno.

He took power after his father, president Idriss Deby Itno, who ruled for 30 years, died during an operation against rebels in April 2021.

The Chadian authorities had initially put the death toll in the capital at around 50, before updating that figure to 73 deaths.

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