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Leading human rights defender detained secretly in Chad for saying Idriss Deby hospitalised- AI

(AFP) Amnesty International said the head of a human rights group in Chad was being “secretly detained” for saying on social media that President Idriss Deby Itno had been hospitalised.

The authorities confirmed that Baradine Berdei Targuio, head of the Chadian Organisation for Human Rights, was being investigated in connection with “cyber crime.” But they dismissed any claims that his life was in danger.

In a statement, Amnesty said Berdei Targuio was arrested at his home in front of his wife and children by “armed and masked men” on January 24.

“He was reportedly taken to the National Security Agency,” Chad’s domestic and foreign intelligence agency, “and his family has not seen him since,” it said.

“Several people have already been submitted to acts of torture and other mistreatment during their detention at the ANS and Amnesty International therefore believes that Baradine Berdei Targuio could be in danger,” it alleged.

Justice Minister Djimet Arabi told AFP that Berdei Targui was being “prosecuted in the context of an inquiry into cyber-crime”.

“We are a state of law, and any person who commits a violation must be responsible for their acts,” he said.

Berdei Targui will be “presented to a judicial authority which will consider his future,” Arabi said, adding: “Contrary to what human rights organisations think, detained people (in Chad) are never tortured.”

Berdei Targuio is a prominent campaigner in Chad, a country whose record on human rights has long been criticised by watchdogs.

He has often attacked Deby and the government on social media.

His arrest on social media came two days after posting on Facebook that Deby, in power for three decades, was seriously ill and had been hospitalised, according to Amnesty.


On January 22, Deby, 67, returned to Chad after a nine-day stay in France.

Rumours of ill health have proliferated, although the president has since made numerous TV appearances and attended the African Union (AU) summit in Addis Ababa on Sunday and Monday.

AFP

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