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Former Chad Dictator Jailed For Life Over Human Rights Abuses

Johannesburg – Former Chad dictator Hissene Habre, who seized power in 1982, embarking on an eight-year campaign of brutal atrocities, has been sentenced to life behind bars after judges in Dakar, Senegal, on Thursday upheld an earlier conviction by the Extraordinary African Chambers.

The earlier conviction by the Chambers, a legal body created by Senegal and the African Union, in May 2016 set a global precedent as for the first time a country had prosecuted a former leader of another nation for rights abuses, AFP reported.

Habre, 74, was convicted of war crimes, crimes against humanity and torture.

The Extraordinary African Chambers had also ordered him last July to pay compensation to each victim who suffered rape, arbitrary detention and imprisonment during his rule, as well as to their relatives, a decision also upheld on Thursday.

Forty thousand people were killed during his reign, which was accompanied by the persecution of dissenters incorporating torture and the execution of opponents, similar to Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet.

He made headlines in 1974 when he kidnapped a French ethnologist who was held for three years before France agreed to terms for her release. Habre fled to Senegal after he was ousted by current Chadian President Idriss Deby in 1990.

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