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Burkina Faso soldiers tried for "conspiracy" say they were tortured

Some 20 Burkinabe soldiers tried for “military conspiracy” on Saturday before the military tribunal in Ouagadougou complain of “inhuman treatment” and “torture” to get confessions from them.

Almost all of the soldiers said they had suffered “beating, shackling, humiliation, insults and food deprivation” at the gendarmerie camp after their arrest, following the attack of a weapons depot in January 2016 for which they are undergoing trial.

When I was arrested on January 25, 2016, I was beaten by gendarmerie officers from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm. I was beaten with a wet rope, threatened with a gun, handcuffed and suspended by a table to compel me to speak”, said Sergeant Ollo Stanislas Poda.

Like him, most of the soldiers under prosecution for “military conspiracy” complained of “physical abuse” and “inhuman treatment”.

If you arrest someone like my client on January 21, 2016, and finally on March 16, 52 days later, you present him to an investigating judge while he is still under detention, we will ask about what has been done to him during the time”, said Issouf Kabré, lawyer for soldier Kam Ollo Bienvenu.

The defense called for “shedding light on practices” during the investigation.

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