Thursday 23 November 2017

Court hearing for 107 'Burkina Faso coup plotters'

Court hearing for 107 'Burkina Faso coup plotters'
(AFP (eng) 10/26/17)
Lead figures are generals Gilbert Diendere (L) and Djibrill Bassole (R) -- key allies to former president Blaise Compaore, whose bid to return to power was thwarted when protesters and the army attacked the barracks of elite troops loyal to him.

A military court in Ouagadougou on Wednesday began an indictment hearing for 107 people, including two generals, who face charges over the failed 2015 coup in Burkina Faso.

Lead figures are generals Djibrill Bassole and Gilbert Diendere -- key allies to former president Blaise Compaore, whose bid to return to power was thwarted when protesters and the army attacked the barracks of elite troops loyal to him.

The defendants are accused of a range of crimes, including undermining the security of the state, murder and property damage.

Former transitional president Michel Kafando -- who replaced Compaore in 2014 -- was briefly overthrown in the coup led by the Presidential Security Regiment (RSP), but resumed power within days when plot leaders admitted they lacked popular support.

"Today, October 25, the hearing opened of the investigating chamber following the order issued by the investigating magistrate on July 21," said Paul Kere, lawyer of several defendants, after the private hearing.

"This hearing is to confirm the charges," he said.

The session, which is being held behind closed doors, had been postponed twice on September 14 and October 6.

"We hope that we will go to trial with elements that can be judged to avoid politicising this trial," said Kere who added the process should "avoid interferences by the executive".

Diendere, the RSP's former chief, and several other members of the now-dissolved unit, will appear in court on Thursday, another lawyer Rodrigue Bayala said.

Bassole, who is under house arrest, will appear in the "next days", he said, adding that a timetable for the long list of defendants would be established by the court.

Compaore, who led Burkina Faso from 1987 to 2014, is currently in Sierra Leone.

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