From: Berhane Habtemariam (Berhane.Habtemariam@gmx.de)
Date: Fri Feb 27 2009 - 07:30:10 EST
Turabi's wife raps Sudan's Bashir, VP Taha over detention; hails ICC
By Wasil Ali
February 27, 2009 (WASHINGTON) - The wife of a jailed Islamist opposition
leader pointed fingers at senior members of the Sudanese government accusing
them of throwing her husband in jail over "personal grudges".
Sudanese authorities took the leader of the Popular Congress Party (PCP)
Hassan Al-Turabi into custody shortly after he made remarks in which he
called on president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir to surrender himself to the
International Criminal Court (ICC).
Al-Turabi has yet to be officially charged and Sudanese officials have
denied that he is being held over his ICC statements.
His wife Wisal Al-Mahdi told Sudan Tribune by phone from Khartoum that
several lawyers are pressing the justice ministry and attorney general to
disclose the nature of charges that will be brought against Turabi.
"They [justice ministry] told us there are none [charges] so far. It is
pretty clear they use their powers under the National Security law which
allows authorities to detain citizens without charges for up to three
months" Wisal said.
"There is no rule of law in this country. He who has the power makes his own
laws" she added.
Asked on the statements made by the ruling National Congress Party (NCP)
political officer Mandoor Al-Mahdi who said that Turabi is detained for fear
that his life may be at risk because his support of the ICC.
"He [Mandoor] made contradictory statements. First he claimed that the move
was to ensure Turabi's safety from public wrath. Last thing he said was that
Turabi will be brought before court on several charges" she said.
"President Bashir, Vice President Ali Osman, Awad Al-Jaz [finance minister]
and Nafi Ali Nafi [presidential adviser] are behind this. Their motive is
simply revenge because of the ideals that Sheik Turabi represents and his
firm positions" Wisal stressed.
She mocked the Sudanese authorities for willing to negotiate with leader of
Darfur Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) Khalil Ibrahim and not with
"Khalil Ibrahim stormed the capital [May 2008] and was close to overthrowing
them. The government figures gathered at an airport preparing to flee when
JEM appeared to be closing on" Turabi's wife said.
"Turabi did not carry arms against the government yet they are not willing
to carry out dialogue with him. Despite what Khalil Ibrahim did they rushed
to the negotiating table with him in Qatar. They only understand the
language of power" she added.
Al-Turabi was a former ally of Al-Bashir and at the time considered the
government's ideological mastermind in the 1990s and the De-facto ruler.
However in 1999 Al-Turabi who was the parliament speaker fell out with
Bashir and jailed on accusations of conspiracy. He was released in October
Wisal said that the split in ranks between the two men was caused by
Turabi's desire to move Sudan towards democratic transformation.
"This was the stipulation when the 1989 coup took place. The agreement was
that they will eventually give up their power and conduct fair and free
elections even if they lose and end up moving to opposition ranks" she said.
Regarding the imminent decision by the ICC judges on war crimes charges
against Bashir Wisal hailed investigations of The Hague-based court into the
She also dismissed claims by Khartoum that ICC move against Bashir is driven
by political agenda.
"This is a legal and not a political issue. The prosecutor submitted his
evidence to the judges and they will rule accordingly. There were crimes on
a major scale committed in Darfur that killed hundreds of thousands and left
millions homeless. Bashir and Ali Osman bear responsibility in what
occurred. They provided the Janjaweed militias with money and arms to kill
innocent civilians" Wisal claimed.
Turabi's wife also insisted that her position is not isolated among the
"The day the ICC issues an arrest warrant for Bashir, people will be
jubilant and joyous. The Sudanese people have suffered enough under Bashir
during his 20 years in power. The living standards have deteriorated
significantly and Khartoum is now more expensive than New York. It is time
he [Bashir] steps down" she said.
Wisal also blasted stances by opposition leaders on the ICC row including
her brother and leader of Umma party Al-Sadiq Al-Mahdi.
"Al-Sadiq and Al-Mirghani [head of Democratic Unionist Party] took sides
with the government out of fear. They say that Sudan will be thrown into
turmoil. Why should that happen? They also say that Bashir is symbol of the
country's sovereignty. Who elected Bashir anyways?" she added.
"My brother [Al-Sadiq] commenting on Al-Turabi's statements said that the
government must conduct a fair trial. He knows very well there is no free
judiciary in Sudan" Wisal said.
Ever since the ICC indictment of Bashir any views in support of the court
has been suppressed. With the exception of Turabi all opposition leaders
have rallied behind Bashir and condemned the ICC move.
Last week Salah Gosh, the head of Sudan's National Security and Intelligence
Service warned ICC supporters inside the country that they will have "their
hands, limbs and head chopped off".
Wisal expressed surprise over Gosh's remarks saying that the spy chief "is
breaching his duty by threatening his own people".
The Sudanese government refused to accept the jurisdiction of the court
despite a UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution referring the Darfur
situation to ICC. The court has already issued two arrest warrants for a
junior minister and a militia leader.
Sudan has refused to extradite either suspect to the ICC.
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