Versoix / Geneva / Switzerland, January 16th, 2002
Jacqueline Moudeina, a lawyer from Chad, was announced today as the winner of the 2002 Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders. The announcement comes at the opening of a key meeting, Frontline's Dublin Platform for Human Rights Defenders, where Ms Moudeina is one of the participants. See: www.frontlinedefenders.org .
Ms Moudeina is the lawyer for the victims of the former dictator of Chad, Hissène Habré. She took enormous risks by filing complaints in Chad against a number of Habré's accomplices, including the heads of Habré's political police, many of whom are still in positions of power. She also is one of the lawyers in the case against Habré himself in Senegal, where he lives in exile. In February 2000, a Senegalese court indicted Habré, on charges if torture and crimes against humanity, and placed him under house arrest. Those charges were later dismissed, but the victims are now seeking Habré's extradition to stand trial in Belgium.
As one of the few women lawyers in Chad, Jacqueline Moudeina works for the local NGO, ATPDH (*), where she is daily engaged in providing free legal advice and human rights awareness training.
On 11 June 2001, she took part in a peaceful sit-in by a group of women to protest against the fraudulent elections. A security squad, led by one of the men she is suing, threw a grenade at her. Jacqueline Moudeina almost lost a leg and had to go to Paris for treatment. Nonetheless, she plans to return soon to continue her work against impunity and her quest for justice.