- Title: Trial over murder of Burkina Faso's former president begins
- Date: 11th October 2021
- Summary: OUAGADOUGOU, BURKINA FASO (OCTOBER 11, 2021) (REUTERS) ***WARNING: CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY*** JOURNALISTS GATHERED IN FRONT OF OUAGADOUGOU COURT HOUSE ACCUSED GENERAL GILBERT DIENDERE SEATED DIENDERE WAVING DIENDERE'S HANDS CROSSED IN HIS LAP JUDGES' EMPTY CHAIRS AT FRONT OF COURT ROOM EMPTY PODIUM IN FRONT OF JUDGES' CHAIRS VARIOUS OF POLICE IN CEREMONIAL DRESS SITTING HOLDING GUNS SIGN ON BENCH READING (French): "DEFENSE LAWYERS" LAWYERS SEATED BEHIND BENCH VARIOUS OF JUDGES IN BLACK ROBES GREETING EACH OTHER COURT INSIGNIA ON SOLDIER'S SHOULDER PATCH SOLDER WEARING MASK WITH BURKINA FASO FLAG SOLDIERS SEATED IN A ROW VARIOUS OF THOMAS SANKARA'S WIDOW, MARIA SANKARA, SEATED (SOUNDBITE) (French) MARIA SANKARA, THOMAS SANKARA'S WIDOW, SAYING: "Like everyone else in Burkina Faso, we are waiting for the truth to come out, so today is the day that begins and we hope and wish that the truth will come out.'' VARIOUS OF AUDIENCE SEATED VARIOUS OF DIENDERE SMILING AND SPEAKING WITH OTHERS
- Embargoed: 25th October 2021 15:52
- Keywords: africa blaise compaore burkina faso court justice killing murder thomas sankara trial west africa
- Location: OUAGADOUGOU, BURKINA FASO
- City: OUAGADOUGOU, BURKINA FASO
- Country: Burkina Faso
- Topics: Africa,Crime/Law/Justice,Judicial Process/Court Cases/Court Decisions
- Reuters ID: LVA001EYPSZLZ
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: EDITORS NOTE PLEASE FIND FILE ON THIS STORY IN EDIT 1128-BURKINA-JUSTICE/FILE
The trial of 14 people accused of plotting to assassinate Burkina Faso's former president Thomas Sankara started on Monday (October 11), more than 30 years after he was gunned down in one of the most infamous killings in modern African history.
Sankara - a charismatic Marxist revolutionary widely known as "Africa's Che Guevara" - was killed in 1987 during a coup led by his former ally Blaise Compaore.
Compaore, the main defendant, was charged in absentia in April with complicity in the murder.
He is living in exile in neighbouring Ivory Coast and has always denied any involvement in Sankara's death.
"Like everyone else in Burkina Faso, we are waiting for the truth to come out, so today is the day that begins and we hope and wish that the truth will come out," Sankara's widow Maria Sankara, told journalists.
Compaore's former head of security, Hyacinthe Kafando, is also being tried in his absence.
Twelve other defendants are due to appear in front of military tribunal in the Ouaga2000 conference centre in Ouagadougou. They have pleaded not guilty.
More than 100 journalists from across the world packed into the conference centre at the start of the hearing.
Thomas Sankara seized power in a 1983 coup at the age of 33 with promises to tackle corruption and the dominance of former colonial powers.
The former fighter pilot was one of the first African leaders to raise awareness about the growing AIDS epidemic.
He publicly denounced the World Bank's structural adjustment programmes and banned female circumcision and polygamy.
Sankara won public support with his modest lifestyle, riding to work on a bicycle during his time as a minister and selling the government's fleet of Mercedes vehicles when he was president.
But critics said his reforms curtailed freedoms and left ordinary people in the landlocked West African country little better off.
Compaore had previously said that Sankara jeopardised foreign relations with former colonial power France, and with neighbour Ivory Coast.
Compaore moved to Ivory Coast after he was himself overthrown in 2014.
His lawyers said on Friday (October 8) that he would not attend the trial, and Ivory Coast has refused to extradite him.
(Production: Thiam Ndiaga, Media Coulibaly, Cooper Inveen)
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