The Chadian government must stop using the judiciary to harass political opponents Amnesty International said today, after three trade unionists and a journalist received heavy suspended prison sentences and fines for initiating and publishing a petition.
Michel Barka, Younous Mahadjir and François Djondang, all leading members of the Union of Chad Trade Unions (Union des syndicats du Tchad, UST), one of the biggest trade unions in the country, yesterday received 18-month suspended prison sentences and were each fined CFA 1,500,000 (US$3,000).
Jean–Claude Nekim, journalist and director of publication for the bi-weekly newspaper N’Djamena Bi-Hebdo was also given a 12-month suspended prison sentence and fined CFA 1 million (US$2,000). The newspaper has also been banned for three months.
The four men were found guilty of "incitement to racial hatred" and "defamation" in relation to the UST's petition published earlier this month. Jean–Claude Nekim was charged after N’Djamena Bi-Hebdo printed extracts from the petition.