Sudan’s former President Omar al-Bashir has gone on trial over his role in a military coup that brought him to power in 1989, reported Reuters.
Al-Bashir was overthrown last year by the military in the face of mass protests against his rule. He stayed in power for almost 30 years before being ousted on April 11 last year after several months of mass protests that eventually forced the creation of a joint civilian-military ruling council. He has been jailed in Khartoum since his removal.
Al-Bashir faces charges of undermining the constitution, violating the Armed Forces Act and fomenting a coup in 1989 against the democratically elected government of Prime Minister Sadiq al-Mahdi.
The trial was adjourned to reconvene in a bigger court to allow more lawyers and family members of defendants to attend. It was adjourned until Aug. 11 when it will be moved to larger venue.
The other defendants include 10 military personnel and six civilians, including his former vice presidents, Ali Osman Taha and Bakri Hassan Saleh, as well as former ministers and governors. They are all accused of having plotted the June 30, 1989, coup during which the army arrested Sudan’s political leaders, and suspended Parliament and other state bodies.
The 76-year-old former president is also wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC), which issued arrest warrants against him in 2009 and 2010 on charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity for atrocities committed by pro-government forces in Darfur.
Sudan’s ruling council, which is tasked with leading the country to elections under a 39-month power-sharing agreement, is yet to hand him over to the ICC for prosecution.
In December, a Sudanese court has already handed down a two-year sentence on corruption charges. Bashir is also being trialed and investigated over the killing of protesters last year.