Chad: Teacher feared abducted by security forces

Amnesty International has called upon authorities in Chad to track down the whereabouts of Issa Palkoubou, an English teacher who has not been seen since 3 September 2008.

Amnesty believes that he may still be alive, and could be in the custody of Chadian security forces at an unknown location. He is at risk of torture and other ill-treatment, and of being killed.

Issa Palkoubou, who teaches English at the American Language Centre (Centre americain de Langues) in N'djamena – the capital of Chad – was abducted from the Centre by three men in plain clothes, who forced him into a car.

When security personnel at the Centre challenged the abductors, the men said nothing and refused to show any identification.

Amnesty International UK Media Director, Mike Blakemore said:

“Scores of people across Chad have been victims of enforced disappearances by the country’s security forces. It’s a practice commonly used in the country to spread fear among the general population and to intimidate political opponents.

“And what is particulary concerning is the fact that those who are detained by such forces tend to suffer torture or other ill-treatment.

“This is why Amnesty members are urging the authorities to reveal the whereabouts of Issa Palkoubou and others who’ve been abducted as soon as possible.”

Human rights defenders and relatives continue to inquire about Issa’s fate but have come up against obstruction and intimidation from members of the Chadian security forces.

One of Issa Palkoubou's family members was seriously intimidated when he went a few days after the arrest to the National Security Agency (Agence National de Securite, ANS) offices in N'djamena to inquire about Issa Palkoubou's whereabouts.

Issa Palkoubou was allegedly seen in a security agency detention facility in N'djamena at the beginning of December 2008 where he appeared to be unwell.

His family members sent a letter to the Minister of Human Rights in December 2008, copying some local human rights organisations, relating the situation and asking the Minister to intervene. The Minister did not reply to the letter.

It is not clear why Issa Palkoubou was targeted. His enforced disappearance fits a pattern of similar cases in Chad, where people who are not known to be members of any particular political party are abducted.

Mike Blakemore added:

“Issa Palkoubou needs to be found immediately, If he is being held by the security forces, Amnesty is calling for him to be released immediataely or charged with a recognisable criminal offence. ”

Take action for an investigation into the enforced disappearance of Issa Palkoubou

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