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Arrested Opposition Leader ‘Insulted’ Government

A top official of Sudan’s dominant National Congress Party (NCP) said opposition leader Hassan al-Turabi was arrested over his recent newspaper publications that attempted to destabilize and plunge the country into chaos.

Rabie Abdulatti Obeid said the opposition leader also falsely accused President Hassan Omar Al-Bashir’s government of sponsoring terrorism.

“Mr. Turabi was arrested due to (his) call for instability against the legal government, which will be formed (in) a few days. The (opposition) newspaper tried to instigate (provoke) the armed forces, especially the Justice and Equality Movement, to violate the agreement they’ve signed between the JEM and the Sudan government,” he said.

JEM, which signed a truce with Sudan's government in February 2001, soon abandoned further peace talks after accusing President Bashir’s administration of attacking its positions.

The government has often linked the rebel movement to opposition leader Turabi - - a charge both the opposition leader and the rebel group deny.

NCP official Obeid said the opposition leader influenced the rebel group to abandon a recent peace accord with the government.

“This (publication) led the leader of JEM (to) stop negotiation with the government, and also escalate the situation in Darfur by attacking villages and civilians; and, the matter resulted in so many victims,” Obeid said.

Supporters of Turabi said security officers raided the offices of his newspaper over the weekend and arrested a number of journalists.

Partisans of the opposition PCP, as well as other opposition parties, have condemned the arrests as an attempt by the dominant NCP to stifle any dissent.

Arrested Sudanese opposition leader Hassan al-Turabi
Arrested Sudanese opposition leader Hassan al-Turabi

But, NCP official Obeid denied Turabi’s arrest undermines his freedom of expression.

“I think that this action and procedure taken by the government of Sudan (does) not violate the act of freedom in Sudan. As we know, freedom doesn’t mean to go and to encourage the people to…work against the achievement of peace,” Obeid said.

He further stated that Sudan’s Security Act forbids anybody from undermining the country’s peace.

Local media reported that opposition leader Turabi is still being detained at Kober prison in the capital, Khartoum.