A court in Chad has sentenced 262 people arrested during a bloody anti-regime protest in October to jail terms between two to three years in prison.
The trial was held in a high-desert prison court behind closed doors with no lawyers and no independent media. The state media was the only media allowed to broadcast the proceedings of the court session.
A total of 401 people were put on trial in Koro Toro prison, a high-security jail located in the desert 600 kilometres from the Chadian capital N’Djamena. However, lawyers had boycotted proceedings on the grounds of legality.
Out of the 401 people on trial, 80 who are mostly young demonstrators were given one to two years suspended prison sentences, and 59 were released, N’Djamena public prosecutor, Moussa Wade Djidrine said.
The trial lasted four days and ended on Friday but the prosecutor did not make the judgment public until three days later, on his return to the capital on Monday.
Those convicted on Friday were found guilty of unauthorized assembly, destruction of property, arson, violence and assault and disturbance of public order.
On 20 October 2022, around 50 people, mostly young demonstrators, were shot dead mainly in N’Djamena when the police opened fire on the slightest attempt at a rally.
The demonstrators were responding to the call of the opposition against the extension of General Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno’s rule for two years. He had been proclaimed head of state by the military on 20 April 2021 following the death of his father, President Idriss Deby Itno, who was killed at the front by rebels after ruling Chad for 30 years.
The government also acknowledged the arrest of 601 people and their transfer to a high-security prison in Koro Toro.