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Amnesty International that there is increase of pretrial detentions, systematic bans on gatherings and threats to the right to information, violations of fundamental freedoms as Chad prepares for presidential election on April 11, 2021.
Chad, a landlocked country in north-central Africa, will vote for their next president. But this election is already preceded by ‘violations of freedom of expression and association,’ Amnesty International said in a report on Wednesday.
Amnesty International urges government to free activists, guarantee freedom of expression.
The report revealed that these violations have been marked since the opposition and civil society boycotted the forum on political and institutional reforms organized last month by the authorities.
‘The fight against the coronavirus pandemic should not be a pretext to unduly limit citizens’ rights by systematically banning civil society and opposition party rallies,’ said Tity Agbahey, Amnesty International’s campaign officer for Central Africa.
The forum organized by the authorities was followed by detention of Alain Kemba Didah, an activist and coordinator of a citizens’ movement on Nov. 27. Arrested on the premises of a private radio station, he was charged ‘for disturbing public order and an act of rebellion,’ reported Amnesty.
While reacting, Bekondo Sony, the president of Union of Private Radio Stations in Chad, told Anadolu Agency that 70 people, including 30 journalists, were also arrested under a ministerial order.
Furthermore, Amnesty said the police used force while arresting people, who were later released except for the activists.
On their part, the Union of Private Radio Stations of Chad organized a ‘day without radio’ protest on Tuesday to decry ‘attacks on press freedom.’
Calling for the release of those arrested, Amnesty also called on the authorities ‘to guarantee at all times and in all circumstances the free exercise of freedom of expression, including the public’s right to information.’
AFRICA TODAY NEWS, NEW YORK