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Bashir defence asks Sudan court for bail release

Bashir, wearing a traditional white gown, sat in the same metal cage he appeared in on Monday when his trial on graft charges opened.

Sudan's deposed military ruler Omar al-Bashir sits in a defendant's cage during his corruption trial in Khartoum on 24 August 2019. Picture: AFP

KHARTOUM - Sudan's deposed military ruler Omar al-Bashir appeared in court Saturday for the second hearing of his corruption trial, during which his defence asked for his release on bail.

Bashir, wearing a traditional white gown, sat in the same metal cage he appeared in on Monday when his trial on graft charges opened.

In the first hearing, an investigator said that Bashir had admitted to receiving at least $90 million in cash from Saudi royals in recent years.

The judge in Khartoum Saturday heard three witnesses, two of the investigators who searched Bashir's residency after his ouster and the other a banker.

"We ask the court to release the accused on bail," Bashir's lawyer Hashem Abu Bakr said, to which the judge answered he would examine a written request.

After the hearing, as a massive security convoy escorted the 75-year-old Bashir back to prison, two opposing groups of demonstrators had gathered.

One group of a few dozen protesters were chanting slogans for Bashir to face justice not just over corruption but for his role in the country's deadly conflicts.

"Bashir is a killer" and "He has to face justice", chanted some of the demonstrators.

Another smaller group had turned out in support of the deposed Islamist general, who was forced from power by relentless protests in April after 30 years in power.

While the sight of Bashir sitting inside a cage in a courtroom was unthinkable only months ago, many in Sudan and abroad have warned that this trial should not distract from the more serious indictments he faces.

The former Sudanese leader is wanted by the International Criminal Court in The Hague over his role in mass killings in the western region of Darfur.

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