Corruption trial for Sudan's ex-president adjourns

AP , Saturday 24 Aug 2019

Sudan Ex President
Sudan’s autocratic former President Omar al-Bashir sits in a cage during his trial on corruption and money laundering charges in Khartoum, Sudan, Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019. (Photo: AP)

The trial of Sudan's autocratic former President Omar al-Bashir on corruption and money laundering charges was adjourned for one week following testimony from several witnesses Saturday, a judicial official said.

Al-Bashir was ousted by the military in April after months of mass protests against his three-decade authoritarian rule. So far, the military says he won't be extradited to the International Criminal Court in The Hague, where he faces charges of war crimes and genocide linked to the Darfur conflict in the 2000s.

Sudan's new joint military-civilian council _ formed earlier this week _ has given no indication it will change the decision to keep him in the capital, Khartoum, where he's been in custody.

The ex-president appeared in court wearing a traditional white robe and turban, and arrived in a white Land Cruiser amid tight security.

The judicial official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief the media, said at least three witnesses testified Saturday regarding the corruption-related charges against al-Bashir. Those accusations focus on alleged money laundering and millions of U.S. dollars, euros and Sudanese pounds that were seized in his home at the time of his arrest.

The current trial will not touch on separate charges against al-Bashir regarding the killing of protesters during the popular uprising. The corruption hearings began last week and are set to resume Aug. 31.

Al-Bashir testified last week that he had received tens of millions of dollars in cash from Saudi Arabia, including $25 million from Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Human Rights Watch said Friday that the national trial ``should not overshadow the pressing need for accountability for gross human rights violations and atrocity crimes in Darfur and elsewhere.''

Sudan's military reached a power-sharing deal last week with the protesters, who had remained in the streets after al-Bashir's ouster while negotiating with the military over a transition to civilian rule. The agreements established an administration that will rule Sudan during a three-year transition period toward democratic elections.

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