Paris, July 9, 2011 (FH) - Senegal has decided to send back to his home country this coming Monday the Chadian ex-President Hissene Habre, a spokesperson of the Senegalese Presidency, Serigne Mbacké Ndiaye, announced on Friday.

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Toppled in a coup in December 1990, President Habre sought refuge in Senegal and has lived there freely despite an indictment by a Senegalese judge on charges of crimes against humanity.

Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade informed Chad of his surprise move in a letter. His decision comes in the wake of an African Union (AU) summit meeting held in Malabo from June 30 to July 1st, where Heads of state had requested Dakar to either judge or extradite Habre to a country willing to try him, namely Belgium.

Senegal ruled out an extradition to Belgium arguing that Habre was "above all an African". Serigne Mbacké Ndiaye explained that it was "now the NGOs' role to put pressure on Chad for a guarantee of a fair trial".

Habre is slated to leave Dakar on a special flight on July 11. He will be accompanied by two high-level representatives of the AU.

In August 2008, a Chadian court sentenced Habre to death in absentia for crimes against humanity. Human Rights Watch doubts he could be given a fair trial in his home country.

"We have always insisted that he be given a fair trial in conditions that respect his rights and his security - and we are very concerned that those conditions do not exist in Chad today", HRW expert Reed Brody explained.

In a communiqué released on Friday, the Chadian government said it planned to take all necessary measures. ``This will be done in concert with the African Union and with human rights groups so that he [Habre] receives an equitable trial,'' the statement said.

"Habre is not a parcel to be sent on the spur of the moment. He has been living in Senegal for 20 years with his wife and children", Alioune Tine from the Senegalese Human Rights NGO RADDHO declared on Friday.

« Extraditing him to Chad means handing him over to his worst enemies", he added


© Hirondelle News Agency