Contributor(s)International Prison Observatory - Chadian section

Specific population

The Prison Administration has difficulty maintaining reliable prisoner records. The latest numbers published by the prison administration date from 31 December 2011: 4,831 people were in prison. The prison system holds a maximum of 2,080 prisoners, leaving an occupancy rate of 232%. 1,765 (36.6%) people were sentenced and 3,066 (63.4%) were pre-trial prisoners.   

The Chadian OIP believes this figure has doubled over recent years. The economic crisis in Chad is said to be the primary cause behind the increase: people are forced into crime to survive.   

Despite overcrowding in almost all prisons, the incarceration rate (42/100 000 inhabitants) is relatively low compared to the international average. Traditional justice is used to resolve most conflicts within communities.

There is no specific women’s prison in Chad. Ten prisons have special cell blocks for women. There are very few female prison staff and male staff have access to women’s cells and courtyards. In some prisons there are no separate cells, so women and men are held together. In most prisons, men and women share toilets and common facilities. Women are constantly at risk of violence or rape by staff and male inmates.   

The average prison sentence for women, excluding homicides, is two years. Women are most commonly imprisoned for sorcery, with belief in witchcraft widespread.    

Young children live in prison with their mothers. Prisons are not equipped nurseries or facilities for children. The Penal Code states that women can give birth in prison. There are no non-custodial sentences available mothers with young children.   

The lack of hygiene and access to water exposes mothers and their children to infections and diseases that can sometimes lead to death. No sanitary products or help is provided to women during menstrual cycles.

Without accurate records, it is impossible to know how many minors are imprisoned. Minors can be incarcerated from the age of 13. Most minors are held for stealing or robbery and spend an average of one year in prison.

Minors have often been rejected or estranged from their families, certain minors are incarcerated, transferred or sick without their parent’s knowledge. Children who are “forgotten” by their families are sometimes cared for by NGOs.

In violation of international law, children are incarcerated with adults and their dietary requirements are not met. There are children’s units in six establishments: Bongor, Kelo, Amsinéné, Abéché, Koumra and Laï. Rules governing the separation of adults and children in prisons are not practiced or respected. Adults take drugs in the presence of minors, abuse them and force them to do the laundry, cook, and clean toilets and waste buckets.

Apart from judicial assistance, minors do not have access to social services, education or professional training.

The administration keeps no record of foreign prisoners. Foreigners, primarily Nigerians, Nigeriens, Cameroonians, Central Africans and Sudanese are not separated from other prisoners.    

In most cases, foreigners are imprisoned for robbery, illegal practice of medicine or illegal residence. There is often no arrest warrant. Foreigners cannot reliably communicate with their consulate.

Homosexuality is punished by law.

Summary executions are common and are not denounced by family members because sexual orientation is taboo in society.

People who oppose the political regime are incarcerated in Koro-Toro and Amsinéné.   

Mr Djeralar Miankeol, director of the Ngaoubourand Association and member of the Chadian League of Human Rights (LTDH), gave a radio interview on the 7th of June. He denounced corruption among magistrates linked to cases of expropriation and farmland grabbing. He was arrested on the 15th of June for contempt and inciting hatred. He was condemned to two years’ imprisonment and received a fine of 100 000 CFA francs ($173 USD). His arrest has mobilised several NGOs like the International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH), World Organization Against Torture (OMCT) and Front Line Defenders. Amnesty International considers Miankeol to be a prisoner of conscience. The Court of Appeal of Moundou acquitted him on July 28th.