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Chadian leader pardons more than 250 jailed protesters

Chad’s transition president has pardoned more than 250 people about four months after they were convicted on multiple counts in connection with last year’s protests in the country, the presidency said.

The pardoned included 259 of 262 jailed following last December’s protests by the opposition. Many people were killed and hundreds of others injured in violent clashes between security personnel and demonstrators.

With a decree signed on Monday, President Mahamat Idriss Deby “granted a presidential pardon to 259 people convicted on December 2, 2022 for unauthorized assembly, destruction of property, arson, violence, assault, battery, and disturbance of public order,” the president’s office said.

Chad’s National Commission for Human Rights described the presidential pardon as a “courageous act.”

This came days after Deby pardoned 380 elements of the Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT) who had been jailed for life in connection with the death of Chad’s former longtime leader Idriss Deby Itno.

Deby’s father, who ruled the country for three decades, was killed in those clashes when he went to visit troops on the frontlines.

A military council led by Deby was formed after his death to govern the country for an 18-month transition period.

He was supposed to hand over power to an elected government last October, but that deadline was not met and he became the interim president that same month.

The military has extended the transition period by two years, with elections scheduled to be held in October 2024.

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