Senegal Plans Talks on Ex-Chadian Leader Habre

Posted July 11th, 2011 at 8:25 am (UTC-5)
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Senegal says it will hold “urgent” talks about the fate of former Chadian President Hissene Habre, after the government abruptly canceled plans to send him back to his home country.

The Senegalese government suspended its expulsion order for Mr. Habre on Sunday, following warnings from the United Nations that Mr. Habre could be tortured if returned to Chad.

Senegal's Foreign Minister Madicke Niang now says the government will open talks with the United Nations, the African Union and the European Union on how to proceed.

Mr. Habre has been living in Dakar since he was overthrown by current Chadian President Idriss Deby more than 20 years ago. In 2008, a Chadian court tried the ousted leader in absentia and sentenced him to death for the torture and killing of political opponents.

A 1992 truth commission in Chad found Mr. Habre responsible for the widespread torture and deaths of at least 40,000 people.

On Sunday, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay urged Senegal to reconsider its decision to extradite Mr. Habre. She warned that as a party to the Convention Against Torture, Senegal may not extradite anyone to a state where it is believed that person would be tortured.

Senegal placed Mr. Habre under house arrest in 2005, after the Belgian government charged him with crimes against humanity based on accusations made by Chadians living in Belgium.