Sudan’s deposed military ruler Omar al-Bashir appeared in court today for the second hearing of his corruption trial, during which his defence asked for his release on bail.
Bashir, wearing a traditional white gown, sat in the same metal cage he appeared in on Monday when his trial on corruption charges opened.
In the first hearing, an investigator said that Bashir had admitted to receiving at least $90 million in cash from Saudi royals in recent years.
The judge in Khartoum Saturday heard three witnesses, two of them investigators who searched Bashir’s residency after his ousting in April, and the other a banker.
‘We ask the court to release the accused on bail,’ Bashir’s lawyer Hashem Abu Bakr said, to which the judge answered he would examine a written request.
Al-Bashir had ruled the country with an iron fist for 30 years before he was deposed by defence minister Awad Mohamed Ahmed Ibn Auf.
Announcing the takeover at the time on television while seated in a gold-upholstered armchair, Auf announced a three-month state of emergency, a nationwide ceasefire and the suspension of the constitution.
Auf had added that 75-year-old Bashir, 75, was under arrest in a ‘safe place’, with sources saying he was being held at the presidential palace under ‘heavy guard’.
After today’s hearing, as a massive security convoy escorted the 75-year-old Bashir back to prison, two opposing groups of demonstrators had gathered.
One group of a few dozen protesters were chanting slogans for Bashir to face justice not just over corruption but for his role in the the country’s deadly conflicts.
‘Bashir is a killer’ and ‘He has to face justice’, chanted some of the demonstrators.
Another smaller group had turned out in support of the deposed Islamist general, who was forced from power by relentless protests in April after 30 years in power.
While the sight of Bashir sitting inside a cage in a courtroom was unthinkable only months ago, many in Sudan and abroad have warned that this trial should not distract from the more serious indictments he faces.
The former Sudanese leader is wanted by the International Criminal Court in The Hague over his role in mass killings in the western region of Darfur.
SOURCE: Daily Mail, AFP, Harry Howard