A special court in Senegal sentenced former Chadian President Hissene Habre to life in prison after finding him guilty of crimes against humanity and torture committed during his eight-year rule.
The Extraordinary African Chambers, an ad hoc court operating under an African Union mandate, made the announcement Monday in Senegal’s capital, Dakar. Habre, 73, had spent more than two decades in exile in the West African nation before being placed in custody in 2013. He was found not guilty of war crimes.
Torture including binding, water torture and rape was systematic under Habre, Gustave Kam, the presiding judge, said in his ruling, broadcast live on Senegalese state-run television. Ethnic and political killings were rife, and women had been forced to have sex with Chadian soldiers, Kam said.
Habre, who ruled landlocked oil producer Chad from 1982 to 1990, was accused of causing the deaths of as many as 40,000 people. He denied the charges and said he didn’t acknowledge the authority of the court, remaining silent throughout most of the proceedings. Habre wore sunglasses and a white turban that covered his mouth as the judge read the verdict.