Over 80 persons will go on trial before a military court on Tuesday, February 27, 2018, over the failed 2015 coup in Burkina Faso, also included are two top generals accused of masterminding the plot.
The case is being seen as a test of the credibility of justice in the former French colony which has been blighted by numerous coups and mutinies since gaining independence in 1960.
The two main defendants among the 84 on trial are generals Djibrill Bassole and Gilbert Diendere — key allies of former president Blaise Compaore who was chased from power in October 2014.
They have been accused of involvement in a coup launched the following year by Compaore’s old presidential guard against the transitional government that took power after the veteran leader’s fall.
The elite unit known as the RSP briefly took the country’s leaders hostage before the coup was thwarted by street protesters and support from the army which attacked the plotters’ barracks.
Fourteen people died and 270 were injured in the unrest. Coup leader Diendere, the former head of the RSP, and his co-defendants are accused of a range of crimes including undermining state security and murder.
Bassole, the former foreign minister is also accused of treason over a recording of him reportedly telling the speaker of parliament in neighbouring Ivory Coast of his support for the coup plot. All risk heavy penalties, including the death sentence, according to judicial sources.
Security will be high for the opening of what is expected to be a lengthy trial, with hundreds of members of the security forces at the court and its environs, according to security sources.
Christophe Lompo, the deputy secretary-general of the ABCE, an association set up for victims of the attempted coup, said the trial “would give them hope that they can heal their wounds and seek reconciliation”.
It should be an opportunity for those in the dock to “admit their crimes and demand forgiveness from the people”, he added.
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