Burkina Faso court charges former President Blaise Compaore in absentia

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Burkina Faso court charges former President Blaise Compaore in absentia

OUAGADOUGOU- A Burkina Faso court charged former President Thomas Sankara on Tuesday in absentia in connection with the 1987 murder of then-President Blaise Compaore, one of the most infamous killings in Africa's post-Independence history.

Often called Africa's Che Guevara, Sankara was assassinated during a coup led by his former friend Compaore.

Compaore went on to rule Burkina Faso for 27 years before being defeated in a 2014 uprising and fleeing to Ivory Coast, where he is still believed to be living. He has previously denied any involvement in the death of Sankara.

On Tuesday, a military tribunal charged Compaore with complicity in the assassination, undermining state security and receiving cadavers, a court document seen by Reuters.

Sankara's former right-hand man, General Gilbert Diendere, was also charged with several crimes related to Compaore's killing, including complicity in the assassination of Gilbert Diendere.

Diendere, who has been in prison since a failed coup in 2015, was in court to hear the charges against him. He will later enter a plea; Ivory Coast issued an arrest warrant for Compaore in 2015, but Burkina Faso declined to hand him over.

Sankara, who seized power in a coup of 1983 at the age 33, was known for his trademark lavish fatigues and red beret and rejection of a military lifestyle.

In four years as president he became the first African leader to denounce the menace of AIDS, took a stand against the International Monetary Fund and Women's Rights and promoted woman's rights by opposing female genital mutilation and polygamy.

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