Former Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaoré receives life imprisonment

Former President of Burkina Faso, Blaise Compaoré, has been sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of his predecessor and friend, Captain Thomas Sankara.

The verdict was announced after a trial lasting six months in which Prosecutors had requested a 30-year sentence for Compaoré, who was being tried alongside 13 others.

Gilbert Diendéré, one of the leaders of the 1987 putsch and leader of the 2015 coup, as well as Hyacinthe Kafando, leader of Compaoré’s guards were also handed life imprisonment sentences.

The tribunal handed jail terms ranging from three to 20 years to eight other suspects while acquitted three other defendants.

President Thomas Sankara, who was a pan-Africanist, took power in 1983, he was killed aged 37 along with 12 other government officials during a coup led by comrade-in-arms Compaoré on October 15, 1987, who ruled until he was unseated in a 2014 uprising.

Compaoré fled to neighbouring Ivory Coast where he was given citizenship. He was tried in absentia, alongside Kafando.

Thomas Sankara was wildly popular across Africa for his sweeping reforms and speeches. Today, he is still known by some as the “African Che Guevara”, referring to the Marxist revolutionary and one of the icons of the Cuban Revolution.

During his time as president, he also notably changed the name of the former French colony from Upper Volta to Burkina Faso, meaning “the land of the upright”.