Sudan: Mass grave linked to 1989 coup attempt on al-Bashir found

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Sudan has found a mass grave that most likely contains the remains of 28 army officers executed in 1990 for plotting an attempted coup against former President Omar al-Bashir, the public prosecutor has office said.

“The public prosecution managed to find a mass grave that data indicates that it is most likely the graveyard where the bodies of the officers who were killed and buried in a brutal manner,” the public prosecutor said in a statement late on Thursday.

A team of 23 experts concluded that the officers were executed under mysterious circumstances after a quick military trial one year after al-Bashir himself took power in a military coup in 1989.

The conclusion was reached after an effort that lasted three weeks and more forensic and investigative measures will be taken in the site, the statement added.

The public prosecutor assured the families of the executed officers that “such crimes will not pass without a just trial”.

The findings will form part of the evidence gathered for an impending trial against al-Bashir for leading the 1989 military coup against democratically elected Prime Minister Sadiq al-Mahdi.

On Tuesday, al-Bashir appeared in court at the opening of his trial for leading the coup that brought him to power. He could be sentenced to death if convicted.

The 76-year-old, who was overthrown in 2019 after months of street protests and mass sit-ins after 31 years in power, is facing charges of undermining the constitution, violating the Armed Forces Act and rebellion.

But before any statements or evidence could be given, the trial was adjourned until August 11 to reconvene in a bigger court to allow more lawyers and family members of defendants to attend.

Some lawyers had complained their colleagues had not been able to get into Tuesday’s session.

In December, al-Bashir was handed a two-year sentence by a court on corruption charges but was never tried for alleged crimes against humanity committed under his iron fist rule. He also faces trials and investigations over the killing of protesters.

Last month, Sudan’s public prosecutor announced the discovery of a mass grave east of Khartoum suspected to contain the remains of students killed in 1998 as they tried escaping military service at a training camp.

Al-Bashir is also wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC), which issued arrest warrants against him in 2009 and 2010 on charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity in Sudan’s restive Darfur region.

Sudan’s transitional authorities announced earlier this year they had agreed to send al-Bashir to the ICC at The Hague, but have not acted on the decision.

A civilian transition government took over from al-Bashir under a three-year power-sharing deal with the military who helped remove the former president, but the country’s economy is still in crisis.



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