General Gilbert Diendere, a key defendant in a trial over the 1987 assassination of Burkina Faso’s revolutionary leader Thomas Sankara, pleaded not guilty at the landmark proceedings on Tuesday.
The trial, unfolding in a military court in the capital Ouagadougou, is being avidly followed in a country where Sankara’s brutal death 34 years ago casts a long shadow.
Diendere was allegedly an architect of a coup during which Sankara was killed and his former friend and comrade Blaise Compaore came to power.
The 61-year-old faces charges of harming state security, complicity in murder, concealing bodies and witness tampering.
I plead not guilty on all four counts, Diendere said, dressed in military uniform.