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A Packed Dock as Sudan’s Old Guard Faces the Music

Former President Omar al-Bashir has gone on trial in the capital over his role in a coup that brought him to power more than 30 years ago. Al-Bashir, who has been jailed in Khartoum since his removal, faces charges of undermining the constitution, violating the Armed Forces Act and fomenting a coup in 1989 against the democratically elected government of Prime Minister Sadiq al-Mahdi. Other defendants include 10 military personnel and six civilians, including his former vice presidents, Ali Osman Taha and Bakri Hassan Saleh, as well as former ministers and governors. They are all accused of having plotted the June 30, 1989, coup during which the army arrested Sudan’s political leaders, suspended Parliament and other state bodies, closed the airport and announced the putsch on the radio. Before any statements or evidence could be given on Tuesday, the trial was adjourned until August 11 to reconvene in a bigger court to allow more lawyers and family members of defendants to attend. Some lawyers had complained their colleagues had not been able to get into Tuesday’s session.