Sudan Denies Moving Turabi outside Khartoum
Sudanese security sources denied that detained dissident Hassan al-Turabi has been flown outside Khartoum to another prison in a secret location, press reports said Saturday.
Members of Turabi's opposition Popular National Congress (PNC) party told AFP Friday that the former right-hand-man of President Omar al-Beshir who was purged from power around a year ago has been flown out of Khartoum.
But an unnamed security official was quoted by newspapers Saturday as saying Turabi, arrested Wednesday, was still in Khartoum's Cooper prison and had not been moved anywhere.
Justice Minister Ali Mohamed Osman Yassin meanwhile said Turabi's arrest was a political measure and that he was not in a position to say whether or not he would be sent to court for trial.
"The current procedures are still within the security jurisdictions as the arrest has been made under the national security act," he was quoted by Al-Rai Al-Aam daily as saying.
Leader of the influential opposition Umma party, former prime minister Sadeq al-Mahdi, criticized the "arbitrary arrest" of Turabi and called for an open trial for him and his detained aides.
PNC sources have said Turabi and at least 95 PNC officials have been arrested since the party forged a deal Monday with the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) which has been fighting a 17-year civil war with Khartoum.
But Mahdi also criticized the PNC-SPLA deal, which called for joint peaceful resistance against Bashir's government, saying it should have been based on acceptance negotiation, rejection of violence and agreement of a ceasfire.
The Umma party leader, who has been in negotiations with Bashir’s government, said he would continue talks with all parties in Sudan.
Mahdi left Khartoum Saturday for Cairo where he will hold talks with opposition Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader Mohamed Osman al-Mirghani and Egyptian officials on an Egyptian-Libyan bid to end the Sudan's problems, Umma party sources said – KHARTOUM (AFP)
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