Former Sudanese President, Omar al-Bashir, to stand trial for 1989 military coup

Pratik Purswani, International Affairs Officer

22 Jul 2020

Omar Hassan Al-Bashir, Sudan’s ousted leader, is set for trial in Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, for his role in a military coup that brought him to power more than three decades ago.

The civilian uprising in Sudan started as anti-austerity demonstrations in late 2018 but quickly morphed into street protests calling for an end to President al-Bashir’s autocratic rule. The 76-year old leader will stand trial for his role in the 1989 coup that toppled Prime Minister Sadiq al-Mahdi’s democratically elected government. Twenty-seven other former officials, including former vice-presidents, ministers, governors and military officials are also to stand trial alongside Al-Bashir.

After seizing power in 1989, Al-Bashir suspended the Parliament and other State institutions, closed Khartoum airport and announced the coup over the radio. He also purged potential rivals, imposed Islamic law and introduced other regressive laws that severely restricted the freedoms of Sudanese people, especially for women. If convicted, Al-Bashir faces the death penalty.

This is one prosecution among many for the former ruler of Sudan. Last year, he was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment on corruption charges. Mr Al-Bashir is also wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for his alleged involvement in crimes against humanity, genocide and war crimes in the western Darfur region. He was indicted by the ICC in 2009.

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