Sudans ex-President Bashir arrives for trial

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-49394908

Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir poses for a group photo with members of his new 20-member cabinet as they take oath at the presidential palaceImage copyright
AFP

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Omar al-Bashir took power in a 1989 coup and was toppled by the military in 2019 (archive photograph)

Sudan’s former President Omar al-Bashir has arrived at court to face corruption charges, which his lawyers say are baseless.

Mr Bashir was ousted in April after months of protests bringing an end to his nearly 30 years in power.

In June, prosecutors said a large hoard of foreign currency had been found in grain sacks at his home.

On Sunday, pro-democracy activists and the country’s military leaders signed a deal paving the way for elections.

There was heavy security outside the courthouse in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, witnesses say,

The former president arrived with a large military convoy, AFP news agency reports.

Image copyright
Reuters

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In June, Omar al-Bashir was seen in public for the first time outside the prosecutor’s office in Khartoum

What are the corruption charges?

The former president faces charges related to “possessing foreign currency, corruption and receiving gifts illegally”.

In April, Sudan’s military ruler General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan said more than $113m (£93m) worth of cash in Sudanese pounds and foreign currency had been seized from Mr Bashir’s home.

Mr Bashir’s defence team rejects the charges.

The ousted leader had been due in court in July – but the trial was postponed for security reasons.

What other charges does Mr Bashir face in Sudan?

In May, Sudan’s public prosecutor charged Mr Bashir with incitement and involvement in the killing of protesters.

The charges stem from an inquiry into the death of a doctor killed during protests that led to the end of Mr Bashir’s rule in April.

Image copyright
EPA

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There have been protests on the streets of Sudan for months

The doctor had been treating injured protesters in his home in Khartoum, when police fired tear gas into the building.

A witness told the BBC that the doctor had walked out with his hands in the air, told the police he was a doctor and was instantly shot.

What about the transition to democracy?

Mr Bashir’s trial will be seen as a test of whether the new authorities are able to deal with the alleged crimes of the previous regime.

On Saturday, Sudan’s ruling military council, which took over after Mr Bashir’s ousting, and civilian opposition alliance signed a landmark power-sharing deal.

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Media captionMohamed Hamdan “Hemeti” Dagolo talks to Zeinab Badawi about Sudan accord

The agreement ushers in a new governing council, including both civilians and generals, to pave the way towards elections and civilian rule.

Mohamed Hamdan “Hemeti” Dagolo, widely regarded as Sudan’s most powerful man, has pledged to abide by its terms.

The members of the new sovereign council were supposed to be sworn in on Monday, but the ceremony has been postponed for 48 hours after a request from pro-democracy activists, the Reuters news agency quotes a military spokesman as saying.

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