Sudan’s Bashir gets two years’ detention for corruption

KHARTOUM (AFP) – A Sudanese court yesterday ordered former president Omar al-Bashir to be detained for two years in a correctional centre for corruption in one of several cases against the ousted autocrat.

Bashir, who was toppled by the army in April after months of mass demonstrations, was convicted of graft and “possession of foreign currency”, judge Al Sadiq Abdelrahman said.

The court ordered the 75-year-old to serve two years in a correctional centre for the elderly.

“Under the law, those who reached the age of 70 shall not serve jail terms,” the judge said.

Bashir will serve his sentence after the verdict has been reached in another case in which he is accused of ordering the killing of demonstrators during the protests that led to his ouster, the judge said.

Sudan’s ex-president Omar al-Bashir. PHOTO: AFP

The court also ordered the confiscation of EUR6.9 million, USD351,770 and 5.7 million Sudanese pounds (USD128,000) found at Bashir’s home. The ex-president will appeal the verdict, said one of his lawyers, Ahmed Ibrahim.

Outside the court, several dozen Bashir supporters protested.

During his trial which began in August, the deposed strongman appeared several times in a metal cage wearing the traditional Sudanese white jalabiya and turban.

While the former president admitted to having received a total of USD90 million from Saudi leaders, the trial centred on the USD25 million received from Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Bashir said the money seized from his home came out of the USD25 million. The funds, he said, formed part of Sudan’s strategic relations with Saudi Arabia and were “not used for private interests but as donations”.

Bashir’s lawyer Mohamed al-Hassan had said before the verdict that the ex-president’s defence did not see the trial as a legal case, but as “a political” one.

The trial does not relate to charges Bashir faces at the International Criminal Court (ICC) for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.