Burkina Faso’s former President, Blaise Compaoré who is now living in exile will not attend this month’s trial over the 1987 assassination of his predecessor, Thomas Sankara.
The trial is due to start on Monday. Compaoré’s lawyers have also signaled their intention to boycott the proceedings, describing it as “staged” and “political”.
Compaoré ousted Thomas Sankara in 1987 and has since been suspected of playing a role in the death of the former military leader.
Military prosecutors in Burkina Faso’s capital Ouagadougou said on Tuesday that the trial will be conducted in public.
A military tribunal indicted Compaoré in April this year for “attack on state security, complicity in murder and concealment of corpse”.
The Thirteen other people charged along with the former president have not been placed in detention just yet.
Mr Compaoré though has been living in Ivory Coast since 2014 after he was ousted following mass protests.
A warrant for his arrest was issued in 2015 but he is currently in Ivory Coast, where he has taken citizenship.
Compaoré who has always denied playing a role in the assassination of Sankara may be tried in absentia.
Thomas Sankara became military leader of Burkina Faso from 1983 to 1987. Known as a revolutionary leader, he was assassinated just four years into his leadership.
Sankara come into power through a coup in 1983 after serving as Prime Minister.
He once declared that “Kill Sankara and thousands of Sankaras shall be born.” His assassination happened a few months after this statement.
He was born on December 21, 1949, at Yako in the dusty north of then Upper Volta. Sankara was 12 when his homeland attained independence from France.
He and twelve other officers were killed by a commando on 15 October 1987 following a coup.
That coup brought one of his allies, former president Blaise Compaoré to power. There are many who still believe Blaise Compaoré played a role in Sankara’s death.