The verdict of the trial of Burundi’s former defence minister is expected to be announced on Thursday.
The former minister Cyrille Ndayirukiye and 27 other people are accused of masterminding a foiled coup in May, a Justice Ministry official said on Tuesday.
According to Justice Ministry spokeswoman Agnes Bangiricenge, the verdict will be announced by a court in Gitega which is about 100 kilometres east of the capital Bujumbura.
I couldn’t sit idle while police were killing the population, Nkurunziza playing soccer and soldiers seemingly indifferent.
Cyrille Ndayirukiye and five other generals are among the group on trial for seeking to topple President Pierre Nkurunziza, who plunged the nation into a crisis last year over his re-election for a third term.
The former defence minister and the other parties accused pleaded guilty to attempt a coup but denied charges of killing police officers or providing weapons to civilians for an insurgency.
While speaking in court, Ndayirukiye told the judges that those who initiated the coup “acted within the Arusha agreement and in a bid to protect the population,” a reference to the Arusha peace accords that ended Burundi’s 12-year civil war in 2005.
“I couldn’t sit idle while police were killing the population, Nkurunziza playing soccer and soldiers seemingly indifferent,” he added.
Opponents accuse Nkurunziza who is a keen soccer player and fan, of violating the constitution and the Arusha accords by running for a third term.