Sudan court to deliver verdict on former president

Source: Xinhua| 2019-12-14 06:01:35|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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KHARTOUM, Dec. 13 (Xinhua) -- The Sudanese court will deliver a verdict on former President Omar al-Bashir on Saturday, who is on charges relating to corruption, possession of foreign currency and illicit wealth.

After his ouster in April, the Sudanese judiciary authorities filed a case against al-Bashir, accusing him of corruption, and possession of foreign currency and illegal wealth.

In April, Chairman of the then Transitional Military Council Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan announced that around 113 million U.S. dollars were found at al-Bashir's residence.

In May, the general prosecution in Sudan announced charges against al-Bashir related to corruption, as well as possession of foreign currency and illicit wealth.

The file has been referred to a court in Khartoum where the first trial session was set on July 31, but al-Bashir failed to appear at the court, which led to the delay of the trial.

The trial was once again delayed after it was scheduled for Aug. 17 as it coincided with the signing of the transitional period documents.

The first session of the trial of al-Bashir was held on Aug. 19, where al-Bashir, during the session, admitted that he received money from abroad, saying that the money was meant for support as part of Sudan's external relations and he kept the sums at his residence to meet urgent needs, such as security requirements.

On al-Bashir's trial session, the court refused a request by his defense team to release him on bail.

The trail sessions continued until Nov. 16, when the court set Dec. 14 as the date for delivering its verdict on al-Bashir relating to illegal dealing in foreign currency.

During the trial, which lasted for about four months, al-Bashir's defense team insisted that he was innocent with regard to the charges against him, saying their client has not violated the law as he was the head of state and has the right to decide such sums of money.

However, Sheikh Eddin Shiddo, a professor of law at the University of Khartoum, said "we believe that this case should not have been the main charge in the trial against Al-Bashir. First he should have been held accountable on charges of rebelling against the authority and undermining the constitutional system with the 1989 coup."

Shiddo said that al-Bashir should be convicted with imprisonment and confiscated of the money for the interest of the state.

Magdi Sarhan, a Sudanese legal expert, excluded that a judicial verdict would be delivered against al-Bashir on Saturday.

"There may be no verdict at all tomorrow. I expect that by 90 percent," Sarhan told Xinhua.

"Issuing a punitive order against the former president is expected to lead to new and undesirable troubles," he explained.

Khartoum is expected to witness demonstrations, titled the Green March, slated for Saturday, organized by groups supportive to the former regime.

The Sudanese army on Friday decided to close all roads leading to the army's general headquarters in Khartoum.

In a statement, the army also urged the citizens to be cautious and stay away from the military areas during the time of Saturday demonstration.

The Sudanese army ousted al-Bashir from power on April 11 amid popular protests that erupted in December last year.

In addition to the corruption case, al-Bashir is also facing other charges.

Externally, al-Bashir faces the risk of extradition to the International Criminal Court (ICC), which accuses him for allegedly committing genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in the region of Darfur, which has suffered a civil war since 2003.

Following the ouster of al-Bashir, the ICC renewed its request for al-Bashir's extradition.

The views of the ruling Sudanese authority varied regarding the extradition of al-Bashir to the ICC. The military component in the transitional authority insists on trying al-Bashir internally, while the Freedom and Change Alliance, which led the protests, supports handing over al-Bashir to the ICC.