Angry Hissene Habré fires his Senegalese lawyer

Exiled former Chad dictator Hissene Habre. PHOTO / NATION MEDIA GROUP 

Former Chadian leader Hissene Habré has sacked his Senegalese lawyer for holding a secret meeting with incumbent President Idriss Deby Itno.

A statement issued by the remanded former dictator on Tuesday evening accused El Hadj Diouf, the Senegalese lawyer and parliamentarian, of meeting President Deby “purely in his (Diouf’s) personal interest”.

“If the meeting had not been in his (Diouf’s) interest, he would have informed me about it”, Mr Habré further said in the statement.

The purpose of the meeting between the two men has not been made known.

Mr Habré is presently in remand prison in Dakar where he is facing charges of war crimes in a special African Union-backed court arising from his tenure as president of Chad between 1982 and 1990.

Responding to Mr Habré’s statement on a local television Tuesday night, the Senegalese lawyer said that he had no intension of betraying his client.

Rather, he explained that the meeting was intended to convince the Chadian president to push for the release of his client.

'Difficult client'

Mr Diouf however expressed regret that the imprisoned former Chadian leader could rush the decision to sack him after 14 years of service in his defence.

“He is a difficult person to understand and besides, he does not pay his lawyers well,” Mr Diouf said of the former dictator.

Madické Niang, Senegal’s former foreign minister who is now Karim Wade’s lawyer, together with two French lawyers, have also acted as defence lawyers for Mr Habré.

Notwithstanding the latest developments, Mr Diouf pledged to continue agitating for the closure of the “illegal” AU-backed court that is trying Mr Habré.

Mr Habré fled to Senegal in 1990 following a military coup that was masterminded by his former defence minister who is the current president of Chad.

He was finally arrested in 2013 and is being remanded in Dakar to face trial for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity as well as for assassinating about 40,000 of his opponents when he ruled Chad.

Additionally, the AU-backed court wants to pile more charges after an assortment of arms and ammunition was confiscated from Mr Habré's exile home in Dakar at the time of his arrest. 

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