Among the hundreds of people arrested after the protests against the delay in transitioning to civilian rule on 20 October, 401 were put on trial at the remote Koro Toro prison at the end of November. Responding to violations of the procedural rights of the accused, the Chadian Bar Association went on strike, and the accused were without legal representation during the trial. Similarly, Amnesty International criticised the Chadian authorities for violating the criminal procedural rights of the accused protestors, noting Chad’s commitments under the African Charter of Human and Peoples’ Rights. At the end of the trial, 262 people were sentenced to prison terms of two or three years, while another 80 were given suspended sentences.
The violent repression of protests on 20 October continues to have relevance for democracy and human rights in Chad. The government officially recognizes that fifty people were killed, but the discovery of bodies dumped in the bush in the days since have led to questions about the full toll. The government also announced that 600 people have been arrested since the demonstration, which the government calls an “insurrection.” 401 of those people faced legal proceedings at the end of November in a mass trial without defence lawyers at Koro Toro prison, deep in the desert. However, the Chadian government has also agreed to allow an international fact-finding mission with representation from the Economic Community of Central African States, African Union, and United Nations, to investigate matters of concern relating to the 20 October protests.
At the beginning of October, a national dialogue reconciliation forum convened by the military junta decided that the transition to civilian rule should be extended by two years (it had already been 18 months since the unconstitutional change of government), and that the junta leader, Mahamat Idriss Déby, should be eligible to run for election as president. The prime minister and government resigned days later and were replaced. On 20 October – the date that the military junta had originally promised to hand over power to a civilian administration, large numbers of demonstrators gathered in several cities, including the capital city N’Djamena. State security (including the police and army) fired on the demonstrators, killing a large number of people (perhaps more than 80). They also beat many others, and arrested hundreds of people. A government spokesperson also claimed that 15 security service personnel had been killed in the violence.