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Sudan adjourns trial against Bashir and allies on trial for 1989 coup

Sudan adjourns trial against Bashir and allies on trial for 1989 coup
Former president of Sudan, Omar al-Bashir, addresses Parliament in Khartoum, Sudan, 19 October 2015. Sudan has said al-Bashir will be among suspects to be handed over to the International Criminal Court over crimes committed in Darfur. (EPA-EFE/Morwan Ali)

KHARTOUM, July 21 (Reuters) - Ousted Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and some of his former allies went on trial on Tuesday on charges of leading a military coup that brought the autocrat to power in 1989.

A Sudanese court had already handed Bashir a two-year sentence in December on corruption charges. He also faces trials and investigations over the killing of protesters.

State TV broadcast the judge opening the hearing at a court in Khartoum without showing footage of Bashir, who has been jailed since he was toppled in April last year following mass protests against his 30-year rule.

In December, his lawyer told reporters it was a “political trial par excellence” more than 30 years after the event.

Before any statements or evidence could be given, the trial was adjourned until Aug. 11 to reconvene in a larger court to allow more lawyers and family members of defendants to attend.

Some lawyers had complained their colleagues had not been able to get into Tuesday’s session.

Other defendants include former allies of Bashir such as former Vice President Ali Osman Taha and Ali al-Haj, secretary general of the Islamist Popular Congress Party (PCP), judicial officials said.

A civilian transition government took over from Bashir under a three-year power sharing deal with the military deal who helped remove Bashir but it has struggled to make fix an economy in crisis.

Bashir’s Islamist party has complained of being sidelined in transitional political process following his departure.

On Friday, hundreds of Islamists and other supporters of Bashir took to the streets to protest against the government’s decision to allow the consumption of alcohol for non-Muslims in a reversal of decades of Islamist policies. (Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz and Mahmoud Mourad; Writing by Ulf Laessing; Editing by Alex Richardson and Alison Williams)

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