Former Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir was convicted by the country's court on December 14 on charges of corruption and illicit possession of foreign currency. He has been sentenced to two years of detention in a reform facility. The 75-year-old was ousted in April following months of street protests against his three-decade rule. The court has decided to send him to a reform facility rather than a prison, on account of his age. Prosecutors have also ordered the confiscation of 6.9 million euros as well as USD 351,770 and 5.7 million Sudanese pounds (USD 128,000) found in Bashir’s residence when he was thrown off his position.
Besides this, the former President is a wanted criminal for the International Criminal Court, which issued arrest warrants against him in 2009 and 2010 on charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide in Sudan’s Darfur region. As per reports, Bashir was dressed in traditional white robes, turban, a metal cage wearing and was silent at the hearings. Several other judicial cases have been launched against him. Bashir could face even more serious charges related to his alleged abuses of human rights. Earlier in May, he was charged with incitement and involvement in the killing of protesters, and this week was summoned for questioning over his role in the 1989 military coup that brought him to power.
As per reports, President Omar Hassan al-Bashir ruled Sudan with a heavy fist, jailing opponents and former allies, overseeing the bloody suppression of the Darfur region and squashing protests that dared to challenge his regime. Rights groups say that Sudan applied targeted suspected pro-rebel ethnic groups with a scorched earth policy, raping, killing, looting and burning villages. As per UN reports, the Darfur conflict left around 300,000 people dead and 2.5 million displaced. After Bashir was toppled, ICC prosecutors requested he should stand trial for the killings in Darfur. Yet his extradition was hindered by Army generals who initially seized power after the president's fall refused to hand him over. However, since Sudan's umbrella protest movement August became the country's highest executive authority, Bashir could be presented at the court.
While the former President admitted to having received a total of USD 90 million from Saudi leaders, the trial centred on the USD 25 million received from Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Bashir earlier claimed at the court that the money seized from his home came out of the USD 25 million. The funds, he claimed, formed part of Sudan's strategic relations with Saudi Arabia and were "not used for private interests but as donations". Before the conviction, Bashir's lawyer Mohamed al-Hassan told reporters that the ex-president's defence does not see the trial as a legal case, but as "a political" one.