Former Sudanese president looks for a get-out-of-jail pass in corruption trial

Source CNN

Deposed Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir is hoping to be released from jail on bail while he awaits his fate in a corruption trial that has captivated the country.

Bashir, who was ousted in a military coup in April following a lengthy popular uprising, is facing charges of corruption and illegal possession of foreign currency.

The former Sudanese president has been imprisoned in the same notorious Khartoum jail where generations of political dissidents were held under his three-decade rule.

Two members of his legal team, Ahmed Ibrahim al-Taher and Hashim al-Jaaly, told CNN they would on Sunday submit their request for bail to an appeals judge after the second hearing in the trial concluded the day before. They also plan on submitting a formal request to the judge to compel prison authorities to allow them to meet Bashir.

Some 55 members of his family, including two of his brothers, attended the hearing. When the 75-year-old ex-president entered the courtroom, his relatives broke out into chants of “God is Great.”

As the court heard testimonies from three prosecution witnesses — who described the room in Bashir’s home where millions of dollars in cash were found — Bashir smiled, appearing to share a joke with the police officer guarding his cage.

High Prosecutor Mutasem Abdulla, the first witness, said the room looked “more like a storage facility with metal cabinets on the wall. Many empty sacks belonging to Seen Flour Mills were found on the floor and a bag with cash inside.”
Seen Flour Mills General Manager, Tareq Ser al Khitm, was identified in court as a member of Bashir’s Congress Party. At the first court hearing last week, Bashir’s lawyer said his client used Khitm to convert the cash from foreign to local currency.
CNN made repeated attempts to contact the company, but it could not be reached for comment.
Prosecutor Abdullah said he had issued a warrant to search Bashir’s home on April 17 after receiving a report about the presence of foreign and local currency inside.
The following day, he received a call from the director of military security who said they had found the cash.
“I immediately moved towards the scene and found large amounts of money and a number of Armed Forces and Rapid Support Forces officials outside the room,” Abdullah told the court.
“The room had metal filing cabinets accessible [with] PIN code with local currency inside. In the middle of the room, there was a bag with cash in euros and dollars,” he added, noting that a banker and two money-counting machines were brought in to count the cash.
A total of 6.9 million euros (approximately US $7.76 million), $351,000 in US dollars and 5 million Sudanese pounds (approximately US $112,697) were found in Bashir’s home.
Bashir’s defense team previously told CNN the money was a gift from Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, which had been distributed to “worthy causes.”
The Saudi government has not responded to CNN’s request for comment.
The case has been adjourned until September 31.
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