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139 people released from prison after deadly protests in Chad

A general view of the High Court in N'Djamena on December 5, 2022.   -  
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Over 139 people arrested during a bloody protest in Chad in October have been released after a month and a half in detention.

A total of 80 received one to two years of suspended sentences and the remaining 59 were acquitted after a mass trial of 401 people.

Outlawed demonstrations were held on October 20th to mark the date when the military had initially promised to hand over power to civilians. 

"All of these people have been given a release order. From this moment they are free and can go home," Rachid Mahamat Allamine, the second deputy prosecutor in N'Djamena, told AFP.

The trial was held behind closed doors for four days in late November, without lawyers and independent media, in the prison of Koro Toro, 600 km northeast of N'Djamena, the capital, where the arrested demonstrators had been transferred en masse.

At the same trial, 262 people were sentenced to two to three years in prison for "unauthorized assembly, destruction of property, arson, violence and assault, and disturbing the peace.

They were arrested in N'Djamena during and after the October 20 demonstration against the government, which left some 50 people dead, mainly in the capital, when the police opened fire on the slightest attempt at a rally.

The government had acknowledged the arrest of 601 people in the capital and their transfer to the high-security prison of Koro Toro.

Transitional President Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno accused them of wanting to carry out an "insurrection" and an attempted "coup d'état.

On Thursday, 80 young people between 13 and 18 were released on bail.

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