A special court in Senegal has sentenced former Chadian military ruler Hissene Habre to life in prison after convicting him of crimes against humanity, torture and sexual slavery, Al Jazeera reports.
Human rights groups accused the 72-year-old of being responsible for the deaths of 40,000 people during his rule from 1982 to 1990.
Gberdao Gustave Kam, Burkinabe president of the Extraordinary African Chambers (CAE) court, a special criminal court set up by the African Union within the West African nation’s court system, while delivering the judgement said: “Hissene Habre, this court finds you guilty of crimes against humanity, rape, forced slavery, and kidnapping, as well as war crimes. The court condemns you to life in prison.”
Habre who refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of the court throughout his trial, raised his arms into the air on hearing the verdict, shouting “Down with France-afrique!”, referring to the term used for France’s continuing influence on its former colonies.
The former ruler fled to Senegal after being toppled in a 1990 coup. After living in exile in Senegal for 22 years, Habre was arrested in Dakar in July 2013, less than 72 hours after US President Barack Obama expressed his support for a trial during a visit to Senegal.
Habre was giving 15 days to appeal the sentence.