Former Burkina Faso President Sentenced To Life In Prison For The Murder Of His Predecessor
Burkina Faso’s former President Blaise Compaoré was on Wednesday sentenced to life imprisonment in absentia for the assassination of his predecessor, Thomas Sankara.
Sankara, then 37, was murdered in Burkina Faso’s capital, Ouagadougou along with 12 others on 15 October 1987 during the coup d’état that brought Compaoré to power.
Sankara and Compaoré had been close friends and had jointly seized power in 1983.
Military prosecutors had requested a 30-year sentence for Compaoré, who was being tried alongside 13 others.
Two other main suspects, Gilbert Diendéré and Hyacinthe Kafando were also handed life imprisonment sentences.
Diendéré was one of the leaders of the 1987 putsch and leader of the 2015 coup while Kafando was the leader of Compaoré’s guards at the time.
Compaoré was overthrown in a 2014 uprising and fled to neighbouring Ivory Coast where he was given citizenship.
Compaoré and Kafando were both tried in absentia while Diendéré is in custody.
Sankara remains a hero for many across Africa because of his anti-imperialist stance and austere lifestyle.
Because of his Marxist ideals, he was known by some as “Africa’s Che Guevara” referring to one of the icons of the Cuban Revolution.
Sankara campaigned against corruption and oversaw huge increases in education and health spending.
He also changed the name of the former French colony from Upper Volta to Burkina Faso, meaning “the land of the upright”.