DAKAR, Senegal — Hissène Habré, the former president of Chad, was sentenced to life in prison after he was found guilty of crimes against humanity, torture and sex crimes on Monday, more than 20 years after the start of a campaign to hold him accountable for the suffering and death of tens of thousands of people.
Mr. Habré, who ruled Chad from 1982 to 1990, when he was deposed by the current president, Idriss Déby, stood trial before a special court in Senegal created to handle the case. Prosecutors had sought a life sentence, which he is expected to serve in Senegal.
“The systematic torture at such a large scale was his way of governing,” said Gberdao Gustave Kam, the presiding judge, who read a summary of the verdict. “Hissène Habré showed no compassion toward the victims or any regret about the massacres and rapes that were committed.”
Victims and relatives of victims screamed with joy after the verdict was announced. Mr. Habré, who had sat silently during the 90-minute hearing, raised his fists to supporters and shouted for several minutes until he was led away by armed guards.
The fact that the trial even took place was considered a victory for many of the victims of Mr. Habré’s government, who fought for more than two decades to bring him to justice.