Sunday, March 6, 2016

Sudanese leader Hassan al-Turabi 1932-2016

Turabi in 2012 (Reuters)
Prominent Sudanese politician Hassan al-Turabi, a veteran Islamist and leader of the opposition Popular Congress Party (PCP), has died at the age of 84, medical sources said on Saturday.
Turabi, one of the country's most influential political figures, formed the PCP in 1999 to challenge long-serving President Omar al-Bashir and his ruling National Congress Party, with which Turabi had previously been aligned.
He was rushed to hospital earlier on Saturday after suffering a heart attack, the sources said.
Turabi was elected speaker of parliament in 1996 and was close to Bashir before a bitter power struggle and split in 1999.
He studied at the Sorbonne in Paris and  published numerous books on Islamist thought. In the ´70ties he spearheaded the National Islamic Front, a group he formed to push for the Islamisation of the state. After a 1989 military coup that brought Bashir to power and that he masterminded, he served as foreign minister. He was elected speaker of parliament in 1996. Also in the ´90ties he hosted al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
In 1999, following differences between him and Bashir, Turabi formed the PCP, taking on an opposition role that landed him in jail several times. He was jailed several times after forming the PCP, one of a handful of opposition groups that accuse Bashir of clinging to power despite a promise to step down in 2015.
Bashir has ruled since a 1989 military coup and has weathered rebellions, economic crisis and an indictment by the International Criminal Court on suspicion of having orchestrated war crimes in Sudan's Darfur region.

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