Hissein Habre, A Chadian Tragedy

Mahamat-Saleh Haroun

Director Mahamat-Saleh Haroun serves as a mouthpiece for the victims of the violent reign of Hissein Habré, the former dictator of the African country Chad. He was sentenced to lifelong imprisonment in Senegal in May 2016 for crimes against humanity, rape, forced slavery and abduction.

Mahamat-Saleh Haroun (A Screaming Man) is one of the most prominent African filmmakers. He made his non-fiction debut with this compelling documentary about the crimes committed by Hissein Habré, the former dictator of Chad.

Habré's reign of terror lasted from 1982 to 1990, leading to the death of more than 40,000 people and the incarceration of numerous citizens in torture prisons. Tragically, his regime was provided with weapons and financial support by France and the United States. His secret police, the notorious Documentation and Security Directorate (DDS), was even trained by the American CIA.

Habré was arrested in Senegal in 2013, and in the spring of 2016 he was the first African leader ever to be convicted outside his native country. He was sentenced to lifelong imprisonment on several counts of genocide, torture and crimes against humanity. Together with Clément Abaïfouta, former prisoner and current leader of the Association of the Victims of the Hissein Habré Regime, Saleh Haroun interviews the victims of the regime's brutal violence. He gives them ample opportunity to tell their story and straightforwardly records their testimony, without the use of archive footage. He even sets up a meeting between a former victim and his perpetrator, in an attempt to bring about reconciliation and justice.

Clément Abaïfouta will be present at the Movies that Matter Festival as one of the activists in the A Matter o ACT programme. You can read more about him here.

Text: Annika Wubbolt


Mahamat-Saleh Haroun
Country of production
Chad, France
82 minutes
Spoken language
Arabic, French
Production company
Pili Films
World Sales
Doc & Film International