Contributor(s)International Prison Observatory - Chadian section

Contact with the outside world

Each prison determines the frequency of visits and the dates on which they are permitted. Some prison directors allow visits twice a week (Am Hadjar, Gounou-Gaya). Other prisons allow visits every day. Visiting rooms are set up within Amsinéné, Bongor, Fada, Kelo and Koumra. Prisons with no visiting rooms organize visits in the director’s office.   

The law allows for conjugal visits. In practice, inmates must pay between 1700 and 2800 francs CFA (3 to 5 USD) to have a conjugal visit. These visits take place in the guards’ rooms.   

Requests for prisoners to be held in facilities close to family are not taken into account by the prison administration. Maintaining family ties is difficult when family members must travel long distances for visits.

Prisoners can offer bribes to prison staff in order to own a cell phone and use it discreetly.

Presidential amnesty and pardon are the only paths to sentence reduction. Prison releases take place at the beginning and end of every year. Political prisoners do not have access to presidential amnesty or pardon.

The justice system is ineffective and penitentiary staff poorly trained. Judges and public prosecutors are regularly transferred. The courts and prison services are not coordinated. Hearings are often cancelled because prisoners cannot be transported to court. Procedures are slow and prisoners may stay in pre-trial detention for several years.   

Arbitrary detention can be instigated by a local official without the public prosecutor being informed. These detainees do not have files and the prison administration does not keep a record of their identity or the reasons for their imprisonment. They can be forgotten by the judiciary system and remain incarcerated for years.   

Some inmates receive their release order but cannot leave until they pay for their “right to leave”, a payment demand by the prison staff. These fees range from 15 000 to 50 000 CFA (25 à 84 USD).   

A report published by Amnesty International in 2012 states that a large number of prosecutors and investigative judges rarely have access to prisons despite the law requiring them to visit prisons at least once a month. Reasons given for not visiting the prisons are usually around lack of staff and security.   

New regulations were introduced in 2011, allowing prisoners to register complaints for human rights violations. However, it was never clear how the regulations were to be implemented in practice. According to the regulations, prison staff must quickly record complaints, find solutions and provide medical care to injured prisoners. If these measures are not respected, staff may be sanctioned by a presidential decree made by the Minister of Justice. This mechanism has never been implemented.

Defendants and sentenced prisoners do not have the right to vote.

Chad signed an optional Protocol at the Convention Against Torture (OPCAT) on 26 September 2012. This additional protocol has not yet been ratified. No national preventative mechanism has been instituted.