Sudan court charges ousted president al-Bashir with illegal foreign fund deals

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A Sudan court on Saturday charged former president Omar al-Bashir with illegal foreign fund deals, offences which could put him behind bars for a decade.

Al-Bashir, 75, had arrived in a courtroom in Khartoum on Saturday where he began his third trial session on money found at his residence.

Judge Al-Sadiq Abdelrahman said at the third session of Bashir’s trial that foreign funds of multiple currencies were found at his home.

The judge said illegal acquisition of wealth was punishable by up to 10 years in jail, while illicit use of foreign funds carried up to three years.

Al-Bashir’s lawyer, Mohamed al-Hassan al-Amin, said in previous statements to Al Arabiya and Al Hadath that the amount found in Bashir’s possession came as “a grant.”

Al-Amin had also stressed that al-Bashir “did not take a dollar” of this money.

The trial was adjourned until September 7, said an AFP correspondent who attended the session.

Al-Bashir was ousted in April after mass protests against his three-decade rule rocked Sudan for months.

Sudan has embarked on a transition to civilian rule following a power-sharing deal signed on August 17 by protest leaders and the generals who ousted al-Bashir.

Protesters have called for al-Bashir to face justice not just over corruption but for his role in the country’s deadly conflicts.

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.

“Now is the time for the people of Sudan to choose law over impunity and ensure that the ICC suspects in the Darfur situation finally face justice in a court of law,” ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda told the UN Security Council in June.

Sudan’s prosecutor general has said al-Bashir would also be charged over the killings during the anti-regime protests which eventually led to his ouster.

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