The postponement of the April 14 judicial proceedings against four members of the Chadian civil society has attracted the attention of the European Union and other civil rights bodies in the world.
Civil rights activists Mahamat Nour Ahmed Ibedou, Younous Mahadjir, Nadjo Kaina Palmer and Celine Namadji were arrested two weeks ago and charged with seeking to disturb the peace by calling for anti-government demonstrations.
Amnesty International also called on Chad on Friday to release the four political activists ahead of Sunday’s elections in which President Idriss Deby is tipped to extend his 26-year rule.
Deby is a key ally of the West in the fight against Islamic militants.
“The response of the security forces and the severe charge against the activists are likely to set alight an already tense situation” before the polls on Sunday, Amnesty’s Central Africa researcher Ilaria Allegrozzi said in a statement.
Unions and civil-society groups withdrew their representatives from the electoral commission last week in anger at the detention of the four activists who had called for protests against Deby’s candidacy.
Chad has one of the region’s most capable military and has played a central role in Western-backed efforts to take on Islamist militants, including al Qaeda affiliates and Nigeria’s Islamic State-linked Boko Haram.