The opening of the trial of the alleged assassins of Thomas Sankara, former leader of Burkina Faso from 1983 to 1987, is eagerly awaited by the Burkinabés. The suspects will appear before a military tribunal which opens on October 11. “Our expectations are that we speak the law, that the truth be, that the light shines on this very bloody file”, entrusted a Burkinabé at the microphone of RT France.

Blaise Compaoré will not attend the trial

The charges are “endangering the security of the State”, “complicity in murder” and “complicity in the concealment of a corpse”. Blaise Compaoré, the main defendant, will not attend the trial. The former right-hand man of Thomas Sankara has in fact always denied having been involved in the assassination of the former leader of Burkina Faso. Brought to power by the coup of 1987, he remained in power for 27 years before being driven out by a popular uprising. He then took refuge in Ivory Coast where he has since lived in exile. However, he is the subject of an international arrest warrant.

His lawyer denounced the fact that his client was “not even notified of the procedure”. “We did not receive any deed, accusation, or questioning, […] we do not have the means to bar ourselves procedurally, ”he lamented. “We consider that this is not a trial, it is a sham trial,” he said.

Thomas Sankara himself came to power following a coup. During his four years in power, he notably gave its current name to Burkina Faso, previously known as Upper Volta, and aimed to emancipate the Burkinabe people. He was entitled to a state funeral following the exhumation of his remains in 2015.

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