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Chad : death of unionist imprisoned because he smiled

21 December 2012
Two men holding a sign saying Gustave, victim of injustice
PSI is saddened and shocked to learn of the death of Gustave N’Beta, a militant of the Chad public sector union federation UST.

The unionist was sentenced to three months' prison simply because he smiled in the courtroom when three of his co-unionists were sentenced. Shortly after his imprisonment, he fell ill and his family were only given permission to take him to hospital at the end of November. Sadly, Gustave N’Bailou Betar died on 9th December 2012.

PSI has sent a letter of support and condolences to his family and trade union members.

Public sector workers in Chad have been on strike since negotiations on wage increases broke down in July 2012. In September, the workers decided to suspend their strike to allow time for mediation initiated by religious leaders to succeed. However, the government took the unionists to court.

The president of the UST, Michel Barka, along with his vice president Younous Mahadjir and general secretary François Djondang were sentenced to an 18 months in prison, and fined 1.500.000 CFA francs.

On 11th December, the government finally agreed to meet with the heads of five trade union federations and has started discussions. l

At the annual general meeting of the UST on 17th December, after discussions between the union leaders and the workers, they agreed to suspend the strike for a period of three months while awaiting the results of negotiations with the government.

During the funeral, the friends and colleagues of Gustave N’Beta condemned the injustice that surrounded his untimely death.

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