Blaise Compaoré, the ex-president of Burkina Faso, has received a life sentence in absentia for his role in the assassination of his revolutionary predecessor, Thomas Sankara.
Sankara was just 33 when he came to power in 1983, setting in motion a revolution that pledged to “decolonize African minds” and continues to inspire followers across the continent.
On October 15, 1987, Sankara was gunned down along with 12 others during the 1987 coup d’état that brought Compaoré to power.
The pair had been close friends and had jointly seized power in 1983.
Compaoré has lived in exile in Ivory Coast since he was removed from office following mass protests in 2014, and has taken up Ivorian nationality.
On Wednesday, a special military tribunal ruled that Compaoré was guilty of complicity in Sankara’s murder, sentencing him and his former head of security, Hyacinthe Kafando, to life in jail.
General Gilbert Diendéré, one of the commanders of the army during the 1987 coup and the main defendant present at the trial, was also sentenced to life.
This verdict puts an end to the six-month trial that began 34 years after the death of Sankara, whose assassination in a coup brought his ally Compaoré to power.