A Burkina Faso court has put on hold the trial of the persons accused of killing the West African nation’s former president, Thomas Sankara, BBC reported. Sankara, who was not one of those African leaders to be told what to do by western nations, was assassinated in 1987 after four years in power in a coup led by his former friend Blaise Compaoré.
In October last year, Face2Face Africa reported fourteen people, including ex-president Compaoré, were going on trial over three decades after Sankara’s assassination. But the trial appears to have hit a snag as a result of last week’s coup.
Sankara’s family had also requested for the trial to be put on hold after the West African nation’s military took over power last week. The family added they wish for the trial to recommence after the restoration of constitutional order is effected.
What we know about the trial
Compaoré succeeded Sankara and ruled Burkina Faso for 27 years before being removed from power in a 2014 uprising following his decision to extend his tenure. He fled to Ivory Coast, where he has since been in exile. The ex-leader has denied involvement in Sankara’s murder.
In April last year, a military tribunal charged Compaoré with complicity in the assassination of his predecessor Sankara, undermining state security and receiving cadavers, according to a court document cited by Reuters.
Compaoré’s former right-hand man and military general, Gilbert Diendere, was also charged with several crimes related to Sankara’s killing, including complicity in the murder, subornation of witnesses, and concealment of corpses.
In 2015, Burkina Faso issued an arrest warrant for Compaoré, but Ivory Coast has refused to hand him over. Sankara became president in 1983 after participating in a coup that removed Col. Saye Zerbo from the presidency and subduing Maj. Jean-Baptiste Ouedraogo, who was also struggling to take the nation’s top position.
While president, Sankara quickly became known as Africa’s Che Guevara. In addition to implementing left-wing and anti-imperialist policies, he was a staunch opponent of corruption.