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More than 1,000 victims say they will be part of trial of ex-Chad ruler facing torture charges

A lawyer says more than 1,000 victims of former Chad dictator Hissene Habre have formally asked to participate in his trial on charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity and torture.

Jacqueline Moudeina, who is representing the victims, said at a press conference Wednesday that each one had either suffered directly or lost relatives under Habre's regime. Five victims described abuses including food deprivation, electric shock and being forced to dig graves for hundreds of prisoners who died in detention.

Habre ruled Chad from 1982 to 1990. A Chadian truth commission has blamed his government for more than 40,000 deaths.

After two decades in exile in Senegal, Habre was arrested on June 30. He was formally charged two days later. Lawyers say that his trial could begin next year.