Khartoum (Reuters) – A Sudanese court on Saturday convicted former president Omar al-Bashir on corruption charges and sentenced him to two years of detention in a reform facility, the first ruling against the ex-leader ousted by mass unrest.
The presiding judge said Bashir, 75, who was deposed by the military in April following months of street protests against his three-decade rule, was being sent to the reform facility, rather than a prison, on account of his age.
He also ordered the confiscation of millions of euros and Sudanese pounds found in Bashir’s residence when he was toppled. The charges, which included possession of illicit foreign currency, carried a maximum prison sentence of 10 years.
Bashir’s prosecution is a test of how fast and how far military and civilian authorities now sharing power in Sudan will act to overturn his legacy.
Bashir is also wanted by the International Criminal Court, which issued arrest warrants against him in 2009 and 2010 on charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity in Sudan’s restive Darfur region.
Dressed in traditional white robes and a turban, Bashir watched silently from inside a metal defendant’s cage while the judge, Al-Sadiq Abdelrahman, read out the verdict.
“The convict, Omar al-Bashir, is consigned to a social reform facility for a period of two years…The sums of foreign and national currency that were seized are confiscated,” Abdelrahman said.
The Sudanese Professionals Association, which spearheaded protests earlier this year, welcomed the verdict as a “political and moral condemnation” of Bashir and his regime, while noting that it was only one of several cases against the former president and his allies.