Burkina Faso court restarts Sankara murder trial
A military tribunal in Burkina Faso resumed the trial of the killers of revolutionary leader and former President Thomas Sankara, days after the military government re-established the Constitution.
The court announced Monday the suspension of the trial because of a recent coup that led to the dissolution of the national assembly and suspension of the Constitution.
The trial resumed on Wednesday following the restoration of the Constitution, according to the court.
The session heard closing arguments that were scheduled to begin before soldiers, led by Lt. Col. Paul Henri Sandaogo Damiba, seized power and deposed President Roch Marc Christian Kabore.
It is the final stage of arguments before a verdict is announced.
The military issued a “fundamental act” lifting the constitutional suspension earlier this week, days after it seized power.
The Constitution was first issued in 1991 and last updated in
It contains 37 Articles and establishes the presumption of innocence, freedom of speech and movement and guarantees independence of the judiciary.
The trial of 14 defendants accused of plotting Sankara’s assassination began in October at a military court in the nation’s capital of Ouagadougou -- 34 years after his murder.
Sankara assumed power in 1983. He was killed Oct. 15, 1987, at the age of 37, during a coup led by former President Blaise Compaore, a former ally and main defendant in the case.
Sankara is a symbol of resistance to French colonialism on the African continent. It was he who changed the old colonial name of the country, Upper Volta, to the modern Burkina Faso, it was he who dared to challenge internal corruption, French external pressure and the foreign debt system.
He was extremely popular in Burkina Faso: he was close to the ideals of social justice, nationalization, he was also a well-known defender of oppressed women.
Sankara was notable for his simple lifestyle and lack of passion for material goods: he refused expensive cars and even a basic air conditioner in his office in order to be on an equal footing with his fellow countrymen.