A court in Burkina Faso has sentenced the country’s former president, Blaise Compaoré, to life in prison for the murder of his predecessor, Thomas Sankara.
Sankara, who was not one of those African leaders to be told what to do by western nations, was murdered after four years in power in a coup led by his former friend Compaoré, reports face2faceafrica.com.
The court, after a six-month trial, handed down the sentence to the former president in absentia. Hyacinthe Kafando, Compaoré’s former security chief who is accused of leading the hit squad, was also found guilty.
Compaoré succeeded Thomas 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.
Nearly three-and-half decades since his assassination, the trial of Burkina Faso’s former President Thomas Sankara will start in the West African country today.
Fourteen men including his close friend and exiled former President Blaise Compaore have been charged with complicity in the murder of Sankara.
Compaore who remains exiled in Ivory Coast disclosed through his lawyers last week that he was boycotting the trial.
Sankara, widely known as “Africa’s Che Guevara” was killed at the age of 37 by soldiers during the coup of 15 October 1987.
Blaise Compaoré come to power on the back of that coup and remained in office till a popular mass protest forced him out in 2014. The duo had staged a takeover in 1983 which saw Sankara become president.
Sankara remains a revered icon across much of sub-Saharan Africa along with the DR Congo’s Patrice Lumumba. They are seen as promising young leaders who stood up to the West and colonial powers and were killed as a result of their aspirations.