The military court in Ouagadougou sentenced former Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaoré and nine other defendants to pay more than 800 million CFA francs ($1,389,282) in damages to the beneficiaries of the 1987 assassination of former President Thomas Sankara and his companions.
According to Judge Urbain Méda, the amount of damages for “reparation of moral and economic prejudice” is 807.5 million CFA francs, including “a symbolic franc” for Thomas Sankara’s heirs.
This sum will have to be paid jointly by Blaise Compaoré, the former commander of his guard, Hyacinthe Kafando, and Gilbert Diendéré, the former head of the army in 1987, all of whom were sentenced to life imprisonment in early April for their roles in the assassination, as well as seven other defendants sentenced to between three and twenty years in prison.
According to the court decision, if the convicted individuals are unable to pay the amounts, the Burkinabe government must compensate the beneficiaries.
However, the military court denied a request to return Sankara’s property to his family.
Sankara, who took power in a coup in 1983, was assassinated by a commando during a meeting at the National Council of the Revolution (CNR) headquarters in Ouagadougou. He was 37 years old at the time.
During Mr. Compaoré’s 27-year reign, which was ended by a popular uprising in 2014, the death of Thomas Sankara, who sought to “decolonize mentalities,” was a taboo subject.
He has lived in exile in Côte d’Ivoire since then and AEM reported that on April 6, Blaise Compaoré was sentenced to life imprisonment in absentia for Thomas Sankara’s murder.