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Burkina Faso Sentences 7 for Planning Coup - 2004-04-18

Seven of the 13 defendants in Burkina Faso have been found guilty of plotting a coup to remove President Blaise Campaore from office last year.

A special military court in the capital Ouagadougou found Burkina Faso army Captain Luther Ouali guilty of masterminding the coup plot. He was sentenced to ten years in jail.

Ouali, who was also accused of treason and colluding with a foreign power, received the harshest sentence in the trial.

The prosecution claimed Ouali had traveled to Ivory Coast for financial and logistical support for the coup.

Ouali admitted he received nearly $100,000 from Colonel Raphael Logbo, a high-ranking aide to Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo, but denied it was to finance the plot. He said the two had been classmates in school and the money was to be used to establish a transport business.

Although he insisted the money had nothing to do with the coup attempt, Ouali admitted he had wanted to remove President Compaore from office.

Ouali was forced out of the army in 1985 but reinstated in 1987. He said he developed the idea for the coup when his petition to be compensated for the two years that he had been removed from the army had been denied.

President Compaore came to power in 1987 after a coup had claimed the life of former president Thomas Sankara. In 1992, he was elected president, running unopposed after the opposition party boycotted the elections.

Six other defendants in the trial were acquitted by the court.