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Burkina: Thomas Sankara trial suspended due to coup

Burkina: Thomas Sankara trial suspended due to coup
A soldier walks past a poster of former president of Burkina Faso, Thomas Sankara, outside a bar that was attacked in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2016. The ove   -  
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Sunday Alamba/AP

Burkina Faso

The trial of the alleged killers of Thomas Sankara and 12 of his companions in a 1987 coup d'état has been postponed until the "restoration of the Constitution.

Mr Sankara's family requested the suspension following last week's coup.

"The court examined the various arguments and "decided to suspend the hearing for the proper administration of justice. It invites the parties to stay tuned for the resumption which will take place after the restoration of the Constitution," said the president of the military court, Urbain Meda.

At the opening of the resumption of the trial, lawyers for the civil party had requested its suspension pending "legal normalization" by the country's new leaders.

"The civil party believes that a trial should be held within a reasonable time, but we do not want a trial" that is tainted by "irregularities," said Prosper Farama, a lawyer for the Sankara family.

When they took power on January 24, the coup plotters announced the suspension of the constitution but said they would guarantee "the independence of the judiciary.

The junta's president, Lt. Col. Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba, in his speech Thursday night on national television, pledged a "return to normal constitutional life" "when the conditions are met," without specifying a period.

"Can this court, whose independence is guaranteed by the constitution, hold its hearing when the constitution that guarantees this independence is suspended?

A defence lawyer, Mamadou Sombie, said "justice is not done in the name of the Constitution, but the name of the Burkinabe people.

The trial began in October 2021 but was interrupted on the day of the coup when it was to enter the phase of closing arguments.

Twelve of the fourteen defendants, including General Gilbert Diendéré, 61, one of the main leaders of the army during the 1987 putsch, were present at the trial.

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