Former President Blaise Compaoré sentenced in absentia to life in prison for the murder of Thomas Sankara

The former president of Burkina Faso, Blaise Compaoré, was sentenced on Wednesday, April 6, in absentia, to life imprisonment for his participation in the murder of his predecessor, Thomas Sankara, murdered along with twelve of his companions during a coup in 1987 .

The Ouagadougou military court also sentenced the commander of his guard, Hyacinthe Kafando, and General Gilbert Diendéré, one of the army leaders during the 1987 coup d’état, to life in prison. Blaise Compaoré, exiled since 2014 in Côte d’Ivoire, and Hyacinthe Kafando, a fugitive since 2016, were the main absentees from this trial that began six months ago.

This historic trial opened in October 2021, thirty-four years after the death of Thomas Sankara, a pan-African icon, assassinated in a coup that brought Blaise Compaoré to power. His lawyers had denounced “a political trial” in front “an exceptional jurisdiction”whereas the procedure “it’s worth nothing”.

The prosecution of the Ouagadougou military court had requested 30 years in prison against Blaise Compaoré for “attack on state security”, “concealment of a corpse” and “complicity of murder”. The same sentence had been requested against Hyacinthe Kafando, former commander of Mr. Compaoré’s guard, another major absentee from the trial, a fugitive since 2016 and accused of “murder”.

read also Burkina Faso: At the Sankara trial, a member of the commando recounts the details of the murder

In addition to these two notable absentees, twelve other defendants attended this fluvial trial, including General Gilbert Diendéré, one of the army leaders during the 1987 coup d’état, for whom the military prosecution had requested twenty years in prison for the same charges as Mr. Compaoré, plus “witness tampering.” General Diendéré is already serving a 20-year sentence for an attempted coup in 2015.

read also Burkina Faso: in the Sankara trial, vice tightens around the alleged sponsors of the assassination

Like most of the defendants present, he pleaded not guilty, and the Sankara family’s lawyers regretted that none had confessed or repented. “Person! We ask the court to do justice to the families. We don’t want revenge, we just want justice.”said one of them, Prosper Farama.

Court interrupted by a hit

Thomas Sankara, here in September 1986.

The trial was interrupted by the January 24 coup by Lt. Col. Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba, which ousted President-elect Roch Marc Christian Kaboré. He was first suspended the day after the coup, then on January 31, “until the restoration of the Constitution” archived during the coup, later restored by the ruling junta, allowing its resumption.

But further interruptions occurred, including one after Mr. Damiba was sworn in before the Constitutional Council on February 16. The defense then filed an application, underlining that convictions were sought for “attacks on state security”, while Lieutenant Colonel Damiba’s coup, validated by the Constitutional Council, constituted in itself an “attack on state security”. Condition”. What “consecrates the seizure of power by force as a constitutional way of devolution of power”defense attorneys argued. An argument “unfounded” rejected by the Constitutional Council, allowing the resumption of the trial.

Coming to power by a coup in 1983, Thomas Sankara was assassinated along with twelve of his companions by a commando during a meeting at the headquarters of the National Council of the Revolution (CNR) in Ouagadougou. He was 37 years old.

read also Thomas Sankara, the immortal

The death of Thomas Sankara, who wanted “decolonize mentalities” and upsetting the world order by assuming the defense of the poor and oppressed, was a taboo subject during the twenty-seven years in power of Mr. Compaoré, forced to leave after a popular insurrection, in 2014.

read also Article reserved for our subscribers Thomas Sankara and Blaise Compaoré, life and death

The world with AFP

Leave a Comment