Sudan’s former dictator Bashir faces corruption charges on top of war crimes

Former Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir went to court Monday for the start of his trial on corruption charges for allegedly possessing foreign currency and receiving illegal gifts.

Sudan’s ousted president Omar al-Bashir stands in a cage during his trial where he was charged with corruption. Photo by stringer

Prosecutors said Bashir, who has been in detention since being forced from power in April, talked about the currency when he was being questioned by investigators.

Bashir, 75, wore traditional white robes and observed the proceeding from inside a cage in the courtroom. He did not comment as the charges were read.

His legal team said the graft charges likely will be thrown out.

“There’s no way he will be condemned in this case … When he did what he did he was then a president with immunity,” lawyer Mohamed el-Hassan el-Amin said.

Amnesty International said the corruption trial shouldn’t distract from the serious war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide charges Bashir faces at the International Criminal Court.

In May, he was also charged with incitement and involvement in the massacre of protesters who challenged his rule and eventually overthrew him.

Sudan’s new government reached a deal this month that outlines the transition from military rule to civilian government. Thousands of people took to the streets to celebrate the victory with many gathering in the newly renamed Freedom Square in Khartoum, where many of the Bashir rallies took place.

ByNicholas Sakelaris