Khartoum, Dec 20 (EFE).- Former Sudanese dictator Omar al-Bashir on Tuesday admitted to playing the leading role in the 1989 coup in his first court testimony since he was toppled in 2019 following mass protests.
Al-Bashir, who had ruled the East African country with an iron fist for nearly three decades, is facing charges such as “undermining the constitutional system” during the coup that brought him into power. If convicted, al-Bashir could face the death penalty.
“I bear full responsibility for what happened on June 30 (1989) and I know that confession is the master of evidence,” the long-time autocrat said.
“I proudly stand before the court and say that I am the leader of the Salvation Revolution,” he added, claiming the coup was to “salvage the country at a time when everyone believed it was lost and needed to be saved.”
Al-Bashir said that he opted for confessing before the court rather than the prosecution, which was going to use that evidence against him.
“I was following the prosecution’s attempts to prove these accusations against me through videos and testimonies. I listened to them and entertained myself,” he said, sparking laughter in the courtroom.
On June 30, 1989, military officers under al-Bashir’s command unseated the government of Sadiq al-Mahdi right before al-Bashir was declared head of state, prime minister, defense minister and chief of the Sudanese armed forces.
Twenty-seven of al-Bashir’s aides, including ministers and soldiers, appeared in court on Tuesday, facing the same charges.
However, the former authoritarian ruler highlighted that those people under investigation “did not have any role in planning” the coup, adding that there was no civilian participation and that it was “a mere military act.”
Since his ouster in April 2019, al-Bashir has been imprisoned in Kober prison after being convicted of illicit enrichment, while his trial for his coup role is underway.EFE