Prosecutors Seek 30-Year Jail Term For Burkina Faso Ex-leader Compaore

Military prosecutors have called for 30 years in prison for Former president of Burkina Faso, Blaise Compaore if he is found guilty of the murder of revolutionary leader Thomas Sankara.

Compaore’s trial, which began in October, comes as the West African country reels from its latest military coup last month, brought on by protests and public anger over jihadist attacks in the country.

Prosecutors have asked a court to find Compaore, who is currently in exile in Ivory Coast, guilty of an “attack on state security,” “concealment of a corpse” and “complicity in a murder.” They accuse Compaore of being the mastermind of the killing.

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Sankara has long been revered among African revolutionaries. He was a 33-year-old army captain, when he came to power in a coup in 1983. A fiery Marxist-Leninist, he was a strong voice against imperialism and colonialism, often at odds with Western leaders at the time. Advocating for radical reforms to help the poor, he was known as the “Che Guevara of Africa.”

Sankara and 12 of his associates were gunned down by a hit squad on October 15, 1987, during a meeting. Some 14 people stand accused in the trial, with 12 of them appearing in court.

Prosecutors requested 30 years in jail for the commander of Compaore’s presidential guard, Hyacinth Kafando, who is accused of having led the hit squad. A 20-year sentence is also sought for Gilbert Diendere, one of the commanders of the army during the 1987 coup, who is already serving a 20-year sentence over a separate attempted military coup in 2015.

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The assassination coincided with a coup that brought Compaore, who was Sankara’s former comrade-in-arms, to power. Compaore went on to rule the country for 27 years before being deposed by a popular uprising in 2014 and subsequently going into exile.

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