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Key defendant in Burkina’s Sankara trial pleads not guilty

Yoopya with AFP

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.

General Gilbert Diendere | Getty Image

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.

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Key defendant in Burkina’s Sankara trial pleads not guilty