Ousted Sudan president Bashir convicted for corruption

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By Euronews with Reuters
Ousted Sudan president Bashir convicted for corruption
Copyright  Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.   -   Burhan Ozbilici

A Sudanese court on Saturday convicted former president Omar al-Bashir on corruption charges and sentenced him to two years of detention, the first ruling against the ex-leader ousted by mass unrest.

Judges said Bashir, 75, was being sent to the reform facility, rather than a prison, on account of his age.

They also ordered the confiscation of millions of euros and Sudanese pounds found in his residence when he was toppled.

Bashir was deposed by the military in April following months of street protests against his three-decade rule.

First of several cases

Bashir is also wanted by the International Criminal Court, 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.

Dressed in traditional white robes and a turban, Bashir watched silently from inside a metal defendant's cage while the judge, Al-Sadiq Abdelrahman, read out the verdict.

"The convict, Omar al-Bashir, is consigned to a social reform facility for a period of two years...The sums of foreign and national currency that were seized are confiscated,"Abdelrahman said.

The Sudanese Professionals Association, which spearheaded protests earlier this year, welcomed the verdict as a "political and moral condemnation" of Bashir and his regime, while noting that it was only one of several cases against the former president and his allies.

Several other judicial cases have been launched in Sudan against Bashir. In May he was charged with incitement and involvement in the killing of protesters, and this week he was summoned for questioning over his role in the 1989 military coup that brought him to power.

Pro-Bashir rally

From early morning, troops and military vehicles were deployed in the centre of the capital Khartoum, blocking access to the presidential palace and the Defence Ministry, and there was a heavy security presence at the court.

About 3,000 supporters of the ex-president's Islamist movement rallied in the centre of the city. "Today we went out to demonstrate to defend Islamic religion and against secularism," said 34-year-old protester Ahmed Yassin.

Ahmed Ibrahim al-Tahir, Bashir's lead defence lawyer, said he would appeal. "The judge made the ruling based on political motives, but despite that we still have confidence in the Sudanese judiciary," Tahir told reporters.