Sunday, 18 August 2019 17:41

Sudan's former dictator Omar al-Bashir due in court for corruption trial

Omar al-Bashir, the ousted former president of Sudan, is expected to stand in court on Monday for the first stage of a corruption trial which could see him jailed for many years.

Bashir took power in a 1989 coup but was deposed in April after mass protests and security forces deciding to withdraw support for his brutal regime, which was behind an alleged genocidal campaign in the Darfur region.

The 75-year-old former dictator is in prison awaiting the trail, where he faces allegations of possessing foreign currency, corruption and receiving gifts illegally.

Human rights groups and relatives of Bashir's victims also want to see him stand trial at the International Criminal Court in the Hague for his role in the genocide of around 300,000 people in Darfur. 

"While this trial is a positive step towards accountability for some of his alleged crimes, he remains wanted for heinous crimes committed against the Sudanese people," said Joan Nyanyuki, Amnesty International's East Africa director.  

It comes as Sudan prepares to celebrate a historic deal between generals and protest leaders for a transition to civilian rule, which many hope will bring increased freedom and prosperity. During a ceremony to be held at a hall by the Nile in the capital Khartoum, members of the Transitional Military Council and protest leaders are expected to sign documents defining a 39-month transition.

But the road to democracy remains fraught with obstacles, even if the mood was celebratory as foreign dignitaries as well as thousands of citizens from all over Sudan converged for the occasion.

The deal reached on August 4 - the Constitutional Declaration - brought an end to nearly eight months of upheaval that led to the ousting of Bashir. 

Telegraph

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