November 20, 2019 / 5:04 PM / 25 days ago

Sudan's top Islamist politician summoned over 1989 coup

KHARTOUM, Nov 20 (Reuters) - Sudan’s most prominent Islamist politician is under investigation over former leader Omar al-Bashir’s rise to power in a 1989 coup, an official from his party said on Wednesday.

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, who was overthrown in April.

Authorities went to Ali al-Haj’s home on Wednesday to inform him he was being summoned for questioning by the public prosecution, Idris Suleiman, the party’s political secretary, told Reuters.

Condemning the move, Suleiman said: “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.”

Some of Bashir’s aides were arrested after his overthrow.

It is not clear when Ali al-Haj will be questioned.

PCP was founded by the late Islamist leader Hassan al-Turabi, who was one of Sudan’s most influential political figures, after a dispute with the former ruling National Congress Party (NCP) led by Bashir. The party later became an ally of the NCP.

The Islamist party has complained of being sidelined 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 that ruled the country after Bashir’s overthrow. (Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz; Writing by Mahmoud Mourad, Editing by Timothy Heritage)

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