Sudan’s most prominent Islamist politician was arrested after being summoned for questioning over former leader Omar al-Bashir’s rise to power in a 1989 coup, a senior official from his party said.
The investigation into Ali al-Haj, secretary general of the Islamist Popular Congress Party (PCP), is a significant step against the Islamist political networks that supported Bashir, overthrown in April.
The official, who declined to be named, told Reuters Haj reported to investigators after the public prosecution summoned him and was then arrested and transferred to Khartoum’s Kobar prison, where Bashir is.
Authorities went to Ali al-Haj’s home to inform him he was being summoned for questioning by the public prosecution, Idris Suleiman, the party’s political secretary, told Reuters. There has been no official comment.
“Ali al-Haj is a political leader and not a military man to be charged over the 1989 coup. He was abroad when that coup happened,” Suleiman said.
Haj has not been questioned yet the senior official said. It is unclear when he will be.
Some Bashir aides were arrested after his overthrow.
PCP was founded by late Islamist leader Hassan al-Turabi, one of Sudan’s most influential political figures, after a dispute with former ruling National Congress Party (NCP) led by Bashir. The party later became an NCP ally.
The Islamist party complained of being side-lined in Sudan’s transitional political process following Bashir’s departure.
The current transitional government was formed in September after a power-sharing deal between anti-Bashir groups and the Transitional Military Council.