Sudanese Court Renews Detention of Key Opposition Leader
Khartoum’s criminal court has extended by two weeks the detention of the leader of the opposition Popular National Congress, Hassan Turabi, pending his trial, according to reports.
The PNC leader has been moved from his prison cell to house arrest.
The PNC came under fire from the government in February after Turabi signed an agreement with the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army.
Turabi is considered the spiritual father of the Islamic Salvation Revolution, the name given to the bloodless coup that brought President Omar Al Bashir to power in 1989.
The Islamist leader and ideologue fell out with Bashir in 1999, and became an opposition figure after he was deprived of his position as parliament speaker.
Meanwhile, it was reported that a key member of the PNC was released Friday, becoming the last of 19 party activists freed after almost three months in detention.
Mohammed Hassan Al Amin was quoted by the Associated Press as saying Saturday that his release from detention was a sign that the government was easing its grip on political opposition.
In May, security forces stormed a PNC general assembly meeting and detained 17 party members. Four of the detainees - including Turabi's son Siddiq - were released on the same day. Two others were detained later.
"We believe that the detentions and (other) measures have begun to ease since the government approved the joint Egyptian-Libyan (peace) initiative," Amin told AP.
The initiative aims to end Sudan's 18-year civil war by convening a national reconciliation conference, seeking constitutional reforms and ensuring an equal distribution of the country's wealth.
Four of Turabi’s aides are still in detention, Amin said.
Sudan's war and related famine have left some 2 million people dead.
The battle lines have mainly been drawn between Christians and animists in the south, and their northern Islamist government foes who want to impose Sharia, or Islamic law, on the entire country.
Oil also plays into the equation, with Sudan's rich reserves attracting the attention of the US and multinational companies - Albawaba.com
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