Burkina ex-president to snub trial on Sankara assassination
Burkina Faso’s former president Blaise Compaore will boycott a trial opening next week on the assassination of revolutionary leader Thomas Sankara, where he is the main accused, his lawyers said on Thursday.
“President Blaise Compaore will not be attending the political trial that is being staged against him at the military court of Ouagadougou, nor will we,” Compaore’s Burkinabe and French attorneys said.
In the trial opening on Monday, Compaore and 13 others face an array of charges in the 1987 death of Sankara, a charismatic Marxist-Leninist sometimes dubbed the African Che Guevara.
Sankara took power in the impoverished Sahel state in 1983, renaming the country the following year from the colonial-era Upper Volta to Burkina Faso, which means “land of the honest men.”
He carried out a string of radical policies, including nationalizations, public housing and a ban on female genital mutilation, polygamy and forced marriages.
But he was shot dead on October 15, 1987, aged just 37, during a putsch led by Compaore, a former friend.
Compaore was himself ousted in 2014 by a popular uprising after 27 years in power and fled to Ivory Coast, where he has obtained Ivorian nationality.
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