Trial resumes in Burkina Faso over failed 2015 coup

Former Burkinabé President Blaise Compaoré supported the failed 2015 coup. (AFP pic)

OUAGADOUGOU: The landmark trial over a failed 2015 coup in Burkina Faso resumed in Ouagadougou on Wednesday after being suspended three weeks ago when defence lawyers staged a walkout.

There was a large audience as the hearing opened before a military court which convened at a banqueting hall in Ouaga 2000, an upmarket southern district of the capital.

A total of 84 defendants are on trial over a September 2015 attempt to overthrow the transitional government which took power after President Blaise Compaoré was ousted a year earlier.

Behind the coup was an elite unit of presidential guards loyal to Compaoré who took the country’s leaders hostage before being thwarted by street protesters backed by the army, which attacked the plotters’ barracks.

Fourteen people died and 270 were injured in the unrest.

The defendants are being tried on a range of charges including treason, undermining state security and murder in a case seen as a test for the judiciary in the West African country.

Among them are two generals thought to be the ringleaders: Gilbert Diendéré and Djibril Bassolé, who also served as foreign minister under Compaoré.

The trial opened on February 27, only to be suspended just hours later when the defense team walked out in protest over the legality of the military court, which is made up of two professional magistrates and three soldiers sitting as assessors.