Date: Tue, 2 Jun 98 17:50:00 CDT
From: Ray Mitchell <RMITCHEL%AI-UK@amnesty.org.uk>
Subject: AI: Chad bulletin
Ngarlegy Yorongar le Moiban, leader and sole parliamentary representative of the opposition party, Front d'action pour la Republique-Federation (FAR), Action Front for the Republic-Federation
Amnesty International is concerned for the safety of Ngarlegy Yorongar le Moiban, a prominent political opponent, due to intimidatory behaviour by the Agence Nationale de Securite (ANS), National Security Agency, who are keeping a continual presence outside his home. Amnesty International fears he may be at risk of ill-treatment by the ANS.
On 26 May 1998, the representatives of the National Assembly of Chad voted to lift the parliamentary immunity of Ngarlegy Yorongar. Since then, there have been members of the ANS continuously around his house.
The decision to lift the parliamentary immunity of Ngarlegy Yorongar follows a charge of defamation brought against him by Wadal Addelkader Kamougue, president of the National Assembly and parliamentary representative of the Union pour le renouveau et la democratie (URD), Union for Renewal and Democracy. In an interview with a Chadian newspaper l'Observateur, published on 9 July 1997, Ngarlegy Yorongar accused Wadal Addelkader Kamougue of accepting money (reportedly 15 million French francs) from the oil company Elf, to finance his election campaign to become president of the National Assembly. Elf has a large operation in Chad and will soon begin the construction of a controversial 1,050km pipeline through Chad and Cameroon.
Ngarlegy Yorongar has a high public profile in Chad as a major critic of both the government and the president of the Republic. As a result, he has been the victim of politically motivated arrests on several previous occasions, including in March 1994 when he was arrested and detained for five days. In June 1996 he reportedly received threats in the run-up to the presidential elections in which he was a candidate. Amnesty International took up his case through the Urgent Action network in July 1996, when he was arrested and detained without charge for 13 days and was reportedly ill-treated (see Extra 105/96, AFR 20/02/96, 9 July 1996 and follow-ups).
Critics of the Chadian government, in particular human rights activists and journalists, continue to be the victims of death threats and ill-treatment by the Chadian security forces, including the ANS. The human rights situation in Chad has been extremely fragile since violent clashes on 30 October 1997 between the security forces and the Forces Armees pour la Republique Federale (FARF), an armed opposition group, in Moundou, southern Chad. At least 80 people were killed and others arrested and tortured following the clashes. There are frequent reports of killings, arbitrary arrests, torture and other human rights abuses.
On 25 September 1997, Sosthene Ngargoune, a prominent Chadian journalist, was severely beaten and threatened by members of the security forces who he was interviewing. Human rights activists Dobian Assingar and Julien Beassemda have also received threats - Julien Beassemda's house was ransacked by the security forces in early November 1997.
In March 1998, following the massacre of over 100 people, mainly civilians (apparently in reprisal for the activities of the FARF), the government imposed a temporary ban on the activities of several human rights organisations, severely restricting freedom of expression in Chad.