Former Chadian president Hissene Habre, who was jailed in Senegal over committing war crimes and crimes against humanity, has died aged 79, Senegalese Justice Minister Malick Sall said.
"Habre is in his Lord's hands," Sall told the television channel TFM.
BREAKING !! - Reported death of ex-Chad dictator Hissène Habré from COVID in prison. For months, we have been calling for him to be vaccinated. Was serving life sentence in #Senegal for crimes against humanity, war crimes and torture 1982-1990. THREADhttps://t.co/vJodivFGnz pic.twitter.com/3IqqkXPP6f— Reed Brody 🧣⚖️ (@ReedBrody) August 24, 2021
Local media said he had died of Covid-19.
Habre seized power in Chad in 1982, after deposing his predecessor Goukouni Oueddeiduring, and fled to Senegal in 1990 after he was in turn overthrown.
The former leader was jailed in Senegal's capital Dakar in 2016 after an African Union-backed trial over abuses committed during years of iron-fisted rule in Chad.
'One of world's most pitiless dictators'
Some 40,000 people are estimated to have been killed under Habre's leadership of the semi-desert country.
Habre's supporters continued to lobby for his freedom while he was in prison in Dakar, however.
He fell ill in jail about a week ago and was taken to a clinic in the capital Dakar before being moved to the Hospital Principal, where he died.
The ex-dictator was released on a two-month furlough last year, designed to protect him from the coronavirus.
Hissène Habré’s death highlights the urgency for victims, who fought for 25 years to bring him to justice, to finally receive reparations for what they suffered.— Human Rights Watch (@hrw) August 25, 2021
The African Union and the government of Chad should ensure that victims are compensated.https://t.co/9lrErmfmTV pic.twitter.com/oBwHopKSRA
Reed Brody, a lawyer who represented Habre's victims, said in a statement on Tuesday that there had been calls for the former leader to be vaccinated against the virus.
He nonetheless added that Habre will "go down in history as one of the world's most pitiless dictators, a man who slaughtered his own people to seize and maintain power".
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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