Thursday 4.5.2017 in Latest Developments in Chad Country Page
On 4th May 2017, a Tchadian court convicted two civil society leaders, Nadjo Kaïna and Bertrand Solloand, giving them both a six month suspended sentence as a result of their peaceful activism. Kaïna and Sollo were arrested on 6th and 15th April 2017, respectively, and charged with attempted conspiracy and organising an unauthorised gathering. They denied the charges and were held incommunicado in an undisclosed location until being brought to police headquarters on 24th April. A third activist, Dingamnayal Nely Versinis, president of Collectif Tchadien Contre la Vie Chère, was arrested on 12th April then later released on 27th April due to insufficient evidence.
Kaïna, the spokesperson of citizen movement IYINA (We are tired) and coordinator of the "Tournons La Page Tchad" coalition, was arrested upon leaving a IYINA meeting where he had discussed plans for a day of action against poor governance on 10th April 2017. The day coincided with the one-year anniversary of Idriss Déby's latest mandate as Tchad's president. After his arrest, Kaïna's family had expressed serious concern over his condition as he was being held by the National Intelligence Agency.
Déby has now been in power for 27 years, having amended the constitution in 2005 to remove presidential term limits. He has been frequently accused by human rights groups of violations, particularly against those who oppose him politically. Nadjo Kaïna, along with others, had also been arrested for civic activism prior to last year's elections.
Twelve members of the IYINA citizen movement were arrested on the streets of the Chadian capital, Ndjamena, during an attempted demonstration on 10th April 2017. They were protesting against perceived poor governance and President Idriss Déby's continuous rule for 27 years and marking one year since his reelection in April 2016. The authorities justified the arrests of protesters, declaring that the gathering was illegal.