French

Human rights defender and journalist arrested and charged, later released

Association

On 4th December 2019, the Secretary General of the human rights organisation Convention Tchadienne pour la DĂ©fense des Droits Humains (CTDDH - Chadian Convention for the Protection of Human Rights) Mahamat Nour Ibedou was charged with' complicity to murder' after being arrested the previous day, on 3rd December 2019. On 29th November 2019, Nour Ibedou was summoned to appear before the criminal unit of the Central Police Office in Chad's capital, N'Djamena, initially in response to a defamation complaint lodged by Bokhit Itno, a nephew of president Idriss DĂ©by Itno, in relation to a CTDDH press release alleging physical abuse of three people on Bokhit Itno's private property. Nour Ibedou was arrested when he presented himself on 3rd December 2019. The murder charges relate to a 2014 murder allegedly perpetrated by a CTDDH member, Malik Ibet Ibrahim, who is facing charges in a separate proceeding. The prosecutor accuses Nour Ibedou of having assisted Ibrahim in evading justice for the murder based on an email exchange. Nour Ibedou's lawyer believes the email is fabricated and has highlighted irregularities, accusing the prosecutor of attempting to discredit Nour Ibedou in retaliation for his criticism of a member of the president's family.

According to news reports, Mahamat Nour Ibedou was released on 8th January 2020 after the examining magistrate ordered to dismiss the case. The human rights activist said to Radio France Internationale (RFI):

"The goal was simply to silence me." (Translated from French)

Expression

According to news reports, judicial police arrested journalist Ali Hamata Achène, who reports for Radio Dja FM, on 26th December 2019, in Mongo, in the province of GuĂ©ra. The arrest reportedly follows a complaint of the instructing judge of Mongo in relation to a Facebook post published by Achène that questioned the slow pace of the justice system. On 7th January 2020, the journalist was initially found guilty of 'defamation' and 'contempt of court' and was sentenced to six months in prison and a fine of 100,000 CFA francs (169 USD).

Mekondo Sony of the Union des radios privĂ©es du Tchad (Union of Private Radio Station of Chad) commented to RFI: 

"If a journalist does not come to seek the information which he disseminates, they will say that it is rumors, false information. But when he comes in search of information to make it available to the public, they say that it is defamation, contempt of court." (translated from French)

Hamata Achène was released on 14th January 2020 after a Court of Appeal overturned the verdict on the basis of procedural errors.