Bashir, Ex-Sudanese President, Sentenced for Corruption

  • Saturday's conviction is in connection to huge sums of foreign money found in Bashir's house shortly after his removal from power.
  • The former president had argued that the money was part of an amount of $25 million sent by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince as a grant to help the country.
  • The former dictator will remain in jail amid an ongoing trial on separate charges in which he is accused of killing protesters in the months prior to his ouster.

A court in Sudan has sentenced the country’s former President, Omar al-Bashir, 75, to two years in prison for money laundering and corruption. This is the first conviction amid a series of lawsuits against the former Sudanese president. Due to his advanced age, he will serve his sentence in a rehabilitation center for seniors convicted of crimes not punishable by death. “Under the law, those who reached the age of 70 shall not serve jail terms,” the judge said.

Omar al-Bashir was President of Sudan from the June 1989 military coup until his own overthrow in April 2019. In 2009, he became the first sitting head of state to be indicted for war crimes, for allegedly directing a campaign of mass killing, rape, and pillage against civilians in Darfur.

This is the very first conviction amid a series of legal battles against the former dictator, who was toppled by the country’s military in April, after months of protests by the Sudanese people in opposition to his style of governance. Saturday’s conviction is, however, in connection to the huge sums of foreign money that were found in Bashir’s house shortly after his removal from power. The former president has thus been convicted of money laundering and corruption. Authorities seized almost €7 million, more than $350,000, and SDG 5.7 million (the equivalent of about €110,000). This Saturday, the authorities also ordered the confiscation of the said millions of euros and Sudanese pounds found in Bashir’s residence following his toppling in April.

The former president had argued that the money was part of an amount of $25 million sent by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, as a grant to help the country. According to Bashir, the rest of the amount was spent on matters of public interest. Bashir told the court he gave five million dollars to the Rapid Support Forces, a paramilitary group that helped remove him from power, four million dollars to a university in Sudan, and two million dollars to a military hospital.

The Rapid Support Forces are Sudanese paramilitary forces operated by the Sudanese Government. The RSF grew out of, and is primarily composed of, the Janjaweed militias which fought on behalf of the Sudanese government during the War in Darfur.

The former dictator will remain in jail amid an ongoing trial on separate charges in which he is accused of killing protesters in the months prior to his ouster. One of Bashir’s lawyers, Ahmed Ibrahim, faulted the ruling and said that the former president’s legal team would appeal the decision. He insists that his client is innocent, in as far as the issue is concerned.

In power for 30 years, Bashir was overthrown by the army on April 11, after four months of massive protests by the country’s population. He has since been in military custody at Kober Prison in Khartoum. He is accused of crimes against humanity at the ICC during the Darfur conflict, which began in 2003, after the armed uprising of two rebel groups and resulted in 300,000 deaths and 2.5 million displaced persons. The former president has not yet been charged with the Darfur crimes in Sudan.

One of the 25 poorest countries in the world, Sudan, is now governed by a sovereign civil and military council charged with overseeing the envisaged ultimate transition to civilian rule.

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Vincent Ferdinand

News reporting is my thing. My view of what is happening in our world is colored by my love of history and how the past influences events taking place in the present time.  I like reading politics and writing articles. It was said by Geoffrey C. Ward, "Journalism is merely history's first draft." Everyone who writes about what is happening today is indeed, writing a small part of our history.

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