Sudanese security forces arrested leading Islamic opposition leader Dr. Hassan Turabi early Wednesday, his wife said.
Wisal el-Mahdi told The Associated Press that a large squad of police came to their Khartoum house in Al Manshiyah quarter at about 1:30 a.m. local time and detained her husband, claiming he was "was wanted by the authorities." According to her, Turabi expected his arrest.
The arrest came three days after the government arrested three prominent members of Turabi's Popular National Congress - Bashir Adam Rahmeh, Adam al Taher Hamdoun and Hassan Sati - as well as some military officers in connection with an alleged plot to topple the government of President Omar el-Bashir.
Turabi was once a close ally of el-Bashir and the main ideologue of the Islamic government established after el-Bashir seized power in 1989. But the two men fell out in 1999 when el-Bashir accused Turabi, then the speaker of parliament, of trying to grab power and stripped him of his position.
Turabi then formed the Popular National Congress and became the most prominent Islamist in opposition.
Turabi, a graduate of Khartoum University School of Law and of the Sorbonne, became a leader of the Sudanese Muslim Brotherhood in the early 1960s. When Gen. Jafa'ar Numeiri took power in a coup in 1969, Turabi's Islamist party was dissolved and its members arrested, only to return to political life in 1977 in reconciliation with Numeiri.
Numeiri made Shari'a the law of the land in Sudan in September 1983, but he wastoppled in 1985.
In the 1986 elections, Turabi led a new faction of the Muslim Brotherhood, the National Islamic Front (NIF), to third place in the national assembly.
The NIF sought to create an Islamic state in Sudan. In 1989, from behind the scenes, this party participated in a military coup overthrowing the elected government.
From that time until May 2000, Turabi was the power behind the throne, whether as leader of the NIF or later as speaker of the assembly. He led the creation of the NIF police state and associated NIF militias to consolidate Islamist power and prevent a popular uprising.
In 1990-91 Turabi also established a regional umbrella for political Islamist militants, the Popular Arab Islamic conference (PAIC), headquartered in Khartoum. It was formed with the immediate aim of opposing American involvement in the Gulf War. Turabi became its secretary general.
© 2004 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com )