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Sankara Trial in Burkina Faso: Ex-president Blaise Compaoré Sentenced to Life Imprisonment

The former president of Burkina Faso, Blaise Compaore, has been sentenced to life in the Sankara trial, the Ouagadougou court announced on Wednesday.

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The military court of Ouagadougou delivered its judgment on Wednesday April 6 , in the case of the alleged assassins of former Burkinabe president Thomas Sankara. Fourteen defendants appeared in this trial, including former head of state Blaise Compaoré and Hyacinthe Kafando, his security chief. Blaise Compaoré was sentenced to life imprisonment.

The Ouagadougou military court also sentenced the commander of its guard, Hyacinthe Kafando, and General Gilbert Diendéré, one of the army leaders during the 1987 putsch, to life imprisonment.

This historic trial opened in October 2021, thirty-four years after the death of Sankara, a pan-African icon, assassinated in a coup that brought Blaise Compaoré, the main accused, to power. The latter, in exile in Abidjan since his fall in 2014, did not attend the hearings. His lawyers have repeatedly denounced “a political trial” before “a special jurisdiction”, believing that the procedure “is worth nothing”.

Thirty years in prison were required against him by the prosecution of the military court of Ouagadougou for “attack on state security”, “concealment of a corpse” and “complicity in assassination”.

Blaise Compaoré is suspected of being the sponsor of the assassination of his former comrade in arms and friend who came to power by a putsch in 1983, which he has always denied. The same sentence was required against Hyacinthe Kafando, former commander of Blaise Compaoré’s guard, another major absentee from this trial, on the run since 2016 and accused of “murder”.

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