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Sudan finds mass grave thought to contain coup plotters executed by Bashir

The 28 army officers were executed in mysterious circumstances after a quick military trial in 1990
The coup plotters were executed one year after Bashir himself took power in a military coup in 1989 (Reuters)

Sudan has found a mass grave that most likely contains remains of 28 army officers executed in 1990 for plotting an attempted coup against the former President Omar al-Bashir, the public prosecutor office said late on Thursday.

The officers were executed in mysterious circumstances after a quick military trial one year after Bashir himself took power in a military coup in 1989. The burial site was not disclosed for decades.

"The public prosecution managed to find a mass grave that data indicates that it is most likely the graveyard where the bodies of the officers who were killed and buried in a brutal manner," the public prosecutor said in a statement.

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A team of 23 experts reached its findings after an effort that lasted for three weeks, and more forensic and investigative measures will be taken in the site, the statement added.

The public prosecutor assured the families of the executed officers that "such crimes will not pass without a just trial".

Bashir appeared in court on Tuesday at the opening of his trial for leading the military coup that brought him to power in 1989.

He could be sentenced to death if convicted.

The former president's lawyers could not immediately be reached for comment, Reuters reported.

Mass grave east of Khartoum

Bashir was ousted by the army in April 2019, after months of mass protests.

Local media reports said earlier this month that prosecutors questioned Bashir over the 1990 executions. The prosecution has not publicly commented on the matter.

Last month, Sudan's public prosecutor announced the discovery of a mass grave east of Khartoum suspected to contain the remains of students killed in 1998 as they tried escaping military service at a training camp.

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Bashir has already been handed down a two-year sentence by a court in December on corruption charges. 

The former president also faces trials and investigations over the killing of protesters.

He is also wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC), which issued arrest warrants against him in 2009 and 2010 on charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity in Sudan’s restive Darfur region.

A civilian transition government took over from Bashir under a three-year power-sharing deal with the military who helped remove Bashir, but the country's economy is still in crisis.

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