Recommendation Plus statement:
A Call for an unconditional release and drop charges against detained Chadian human rights defender
By Madi S. Njie, Chairperson, Network of Human Rights Journalists
World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) Urgent Appeal states that on 19 December, Daniel Dezoumbe Passalet,
president of Human Rights without Borders (Droits de l'Homme Sans Frontières (DHSF), a Chadian human rights organization, was arrested and charged with false accusation (dénonciation
calomnieuse), in connection to a radio interview on 18 December 2011.
We are shock that some African States continue to allow human rights violations to take precedent in their countries. We strongly are calling on the Chadian authorities to unconditionally release Daniel Dezoumbe Passalet, as he has done nothing that warrant him to be subjected to inhumane treatments.
OMCT Urgent Appeal quoted Daniel Dezoumbe Passalet's lawyers and local human rights organizations, confirming his detention is in connection with an interview on Radio France Internationale (RFI) on 18 December. During the interview he denounced the obstruction of the investigation into the death in custody of 10 men in the southern town of Léré and the killing of the village chief of Matta-Léré and his three assistants in September 2011. He allegedly told RFI that security forces kidnapped the widow of the village chief, in order to prevent her from withdrawing a complaint of false accusation she had lodged against opposition leader and Member of Parliament Saleh Kebzabo in connection with her husband's killing.
On 17 October Chadian government officials threatened Daniel Deuzoumbe Passalet on national radio and television. This followed a press statement by DHSF and an interview on Djamena based Radio FM Liberté on 3 October, denouncing the impunity that surrounded the death of the 10 men, the killing of the village chief and his three assistants, as well as the outstanding issue of child abductions that are taking place in the region.
Amnesty International (IA), a UK based international human rights defenders report that on 17 September this year, nine men died of asphyxiation four hours after being detained in the National Gendarmerie in the town of Léré in the Mayo-Kebbi West region, southern Chad. Some of the men were subjected to ill treatment during their arrest. The remaining detainees at the Gendarmerie were transferred to the N’Djamena Central prison where another man, Bouba Hamane, later died. The ten men were among around 47 people accused of involvement in the death of the Matta-Léré village chief. The village chief and his three assistants were killed in September by a group of villagers,” said AI.
Yvonne Papendorf, Coordinator of the EU Project for African Human Rights Defenders Human Rights Desk states that Deuzoumbe Passalet was deported to the city of Moussoro, 300km Northeast of Ndjamena in the desert. Witnesses said he was bound like an object and brutally thrown into a van, and arrived in Moussoro around 16.30 hrs, and put in a prison where mutiny took place the same day, with 5 dead and 7 injured prisoners. This has made human rights defenders to be extremely concerned about the live and survival of Daniel Dezoumbe, and the human rights situation in Chad in general.
We regard Mr Dezoumbe Passalet as a prisoner of conscience, detained solely for peacefully exercising his right
to freedom of expression. He should in this case be immediately and unconditionally released.
We are urging the authorities to protect him from torture and other ill treatment while in detention; and to respect and uphold the right to freedom of expression in Chad and protect human rights defenders against harassment and intimidation based on the exercise of their human rights.
We also reminds Monsieur Idriss Deby President of the Republic of Chad of African Leader’s commitment to the African Union Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and other regional and international human rights mechanisms. Paragraph three of the Charter’s preamble stipulates: "…. freedom, equality, justice and dignity are essential objectives for the achievement of the legitimate aspirations of the African peoples". We are therefore drawing President Deby’s attention to the virtues of our historical tradition and the values of African civilization, which should inspire and characterize our reflection on the concept of human and peoples' rights.
We are on this note appealing for President Deby to act according to the human rights promotion and protection he is committed to by immediately releasing Mr Dezoumbe Passalet, unconditionally and drop charges against him, as he was merely doing his work. We are further appealing to the Chadian authorities to look into solutions to the humanitarian crisis being reported in Chad, particularly the prisons, instead of trampling on the rights of human rights defenders. It is important to note that violation of human rights anywhere is a violation of human rights everywhere.
We also hope and count on President Deby to put emphasize on ensuring peace in Chad by respecting human and peoples’ rights, particularly the rights to life and dignity of Chadians, as they are God’s given rights.
Madi S. Njie
Network of Human Rights Journalists (NHRJ)- The Gambia
C/O the Gambia Press Union (GPU)
Garba Jahumpa Road, Bakau
Contact: +220 6869541;