London, Asharq Al-Awsat- Dr. Hassan Al Turabi, leader of the Popular Congress Party [PCP] was stopped from traveling to Paris to undergo medical tests by the Sudanese authorities on Sunday. Al Turabi refused to leave the country secretly, for example through Juba, the capital of Southern Sudan, which is led by the Sudan’s People’s Liberation Movement [SPLM] under the leadership of the First Vice-President of Sudan, Salva Kiir Mayardit. The security authorities confiscated Al Turabi’s passport on Sunday, and have refused to return it to him, [effectively] banning him from leaving the country and traveling to Paris to undergo medical tests, citing telephone contact between Al Turabi and the Egyptian General Intelligence Service [GIS] in Cairo.
Dr. Al Turabi informed Asharq Al-Awsat via telephone from Khartoum that a number of his aides had suggested to him that he could [still] leave Sudan by traveling to the semi-autonomous region of Southern Sudan, but Turabi said “I refused, because I want to leave openly via Khartoum airport, not via Juba, or any other place, even through traveling from Juba or somewhere else is possible and not difficult.”
Al Turabi added that the security authorities dealt with him in “rudely and antagonistically” even though he had completed all the travel procedures that would permit him to travel to Paris on Sunday.
Al Turabi clarified what happened on Sunday to Asharq Al-Awsat saying that “half an hour prior to departure a car belonging to the security agency arrived and [the security men] informed me, along with Dr. Bashir Adam Rahma, – the Foreign Relations official of the PCP who was imprisoned alongside me- and my family, that we were not allowed to leave the country, and immediately confiscated our travel documents.” He added that the travel procedures he had completed included obtaining “a multi-entry visa to Europe” and that “until now, they have yet to return my or Bashir Adam Rahma’s passports…but they have returned his [Rahma’s] wife’s and daughter’s passports.”
Al Turabi stresses to Asharq Al-Awsat that he will attempt to travel abroad again saying “I will try again because this is my right, which is guaranteed by the constitution which they wrote with their own hands.”
Al Turabi, who had also been planning on touring a number of countries links his travel ban to the upcoming [21 August] visit to France of Sudanese Presidential Adviser Dr. Nafie Ali Nafie along with Director of the Security Service General Salah Abdullah [in order to discuss the ICC warrant issued against President Al Bashir].
Al Turabi informed Asharq Al-Awsat that “Nafie, who previously was Director of the [Sudanese] Security Service…and its current Director [General] Salah Abdullah, will travel to Paris this week fearing that their are difficulties up ahead, and obstruction of their update to the French [if Al Turabi was also in France].” Al Turabi added “They are afraid of the [international] tour that I will undertake, visiting Paris, London, Berlin, and Geneva. I was going to stop-over in Doha, visit Chad, as well as the Libyan capital of Tripoli in search of solutions for our internal crisis [Darfur].”
Turabi went on to say that “we would even have visited Egypt…to discuss the issue of Darfur.” Turabi added “Egypt is working to [the benefit] of all Sudanese political forces to solve the Darfur crisis, and the Libyan leader [Gaddafi] is also doing the same.”
Al Turabi also informed Asharq Al-Awsat that this medical trip is not a pretext [for travel] as a source in the Sudanese security authorities had indicated in a statement. Turabi said “The security services know by way of tapping our phones that I am going for general health tests in Paris, and that I will be visiting a number of capitals to search for [a solution] to our countries ill health as a whole, which became ill due to their actions.”
Turabi also made reference to his recent arrest which occurred after he had called on President Omar Al Bashir to hand himself over to the International Criminal Court [ICC], informing Asharq Al-Awsat that this last arrest contributed to the deterioration of his health.
A Sudanese security source informed Sudanese media that Turabi’s [international] tour was in order to rouse anti-government sentiment. The source described this tour as being suspicious and aimed at splitting the national front, and obstructing the ongoing efforts to bring peace to Sudan.