Rights group: Chad government persecuting opposition

Amnesty International has accused Chad's government of using a state of emergency imposed after a recent attempted coup to tyrannize members of peaceful opposition groups.

Rights group: Chad government persecuting opposition
At least one opposition leader was arrested and others have disappeared following rebel attacks on the capital in early February. The London-based rights group said their situation reflects a wider clampdown.

"The Chadian government should not use the declared state of emergency as a cover to flush out and arrest supporters — actual or perceived — of political opposition parties," the group said in a statement released late Wednesday.

In the latest attack, opposition forces from eastern Chad besieged the capital of the West African country for three days in early February before being driven back by government forces. Chad's president declared a state of emergency on Feb. 14 that gave provincial governors increased powers, instituted media controls and imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew.

Three of Chad's four major newspapers said this week that they would not publish until the state of emergency is lifted — a protest against government demands that they submit articles for censorship.

Amnesty has named three opposition figures that it says were arrested by the government on Feb. 3, and another whose whereabouts have been unknown since that date.

Chad's government has confirmed that one of the men, former President Lol Mahamat Choua, was detained as a prisoner of war, and that former Vice President Wadal Abdelkader Kamougue has gone into hiding. It has not provided information on the other two.

The group called on Chad to charge or release those who have been detained. Amnesty also urged France, Chad's former colonial power, to reveal any information it might have about the opposition leaders' whereabouts.

French authorities have said that their ambassador met with Choua in detention.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 21 Şubat 2008, 17:46