Bashir in court for graft trial

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Omar al-Bashir addresses a meeting at the Presidential Palace in Khartoum, Sudan, April 5, 2019.

By CGTN Africa

Sudan’s deposed military leader Omar al-Bashir, who ruled the country for 30 years, arrived in court Monday in Khartoum for the start of his trial on corruption charges.

Bashir (75) was forced from power on 11 April, after months of protest against his regime and appeared before a prosecutor for the first time on 16 June.

Now detained, the Islamist general was informed by the prosecutor’s office that he faced charges of “possessing foreign currency, corruption and receiving gifts illegally”.

In April, Sudan’s army ruler General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan said more than $113 million worth of cash in three currencies had been seized from Bashir’s residence.

In May, the prosecutor general also said Bashir had been charged over killings during the anti-regime protests which eventually led to his ouster.

Protests against Bashir’s rule erupted on December 19 after his government tripled the price of bread.

The most serious indictments facing Bashir, who ruled the country since seizing power in a 1989 coup, have been filed by the Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC).

They include war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide for his role in the war in Darfur, where a rebellion erupted in 2003.

The United Nations says the conflict has left more than 300,000 people dead and 2.5 million displaced, with hundreds of thousands still living in miserable and impoverished camps more than a decade and a half later.

In a statement issued last week, Amnesty International warned that his graft trial should not distract from the heavier charges he faces in The Hague.

“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,” Amnesty’s Joan Nyanyuki said.

Sudan’s ruling generals and protest leaders were expected to announce the composition of a transitional sovereign council on Monday.

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