Chad Convicts Activists for Peaceful Protests
In response to a Chadian court convicting four civil society activists on April 13 for disturbing public order and other charges related to peaceful protests organized in the lead up to presidential elections, Freedom House issued the following statement:
“Authorities in Chad are wrong to prosecute human rights defenders for raising awareness about election irregularities and the government's abuse of power," said Vukasin Petrovic, director for Africa programs. “The court convictions erode the credibility of the April 10 elections and the right to free speech in Chad.”
Chad held presidential elections on April 10, which the African Union deemed fair despite suppression of protests and interruptions of internet service. President Idriss Déby Itno will likely extend his 26 years in power with a fifth term, when final results are released within the next two weeks. On March 22, four civil society members were arrested on charges of disturbing public order, opposing legitimate authority, and organizing non-armed protests.
Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.