April 19, 2009 / 4:43 PM / 10 years ago

Sudanese opposition leader barred from travelling

KHARTOUM, April 19 (Reuters) - Sudanese authorities have barred a leading Islamist opposition leader from flying to Paris for medical treatment, one of his aides said on Sunday.

Hassan al-Turabi, who holds a diplomatic passport from his time in the senior ranks of government, was seeking treatment for hypertension diagnosed during his recent time in jail, his aide Bashir Adam Rahma said.

"We had our visa to go to France, we had exit visas, we had our tickets, we went to the airport and at the airport our passports were confiscated by the security," Rahma said, who added Turabi was also to be checked for diabetes.

He said no reason was given for the travel ban, but said he was told the order had come from "high up".

Al-Turabi helped bring Sudan’s President Omar Hassan al-Bashir to power in a 1989 coup but later fell out with him.

He was jailed in January after calling on Bashir to hand himself over to the International Criminal Court and released last month.

The ICC has issued an arrest warrant for Bashir to face charges of alleged war crimes carried out during almost six years of fighting in Darfur, but he has refused to deal with the court

Turabi, once close to al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, is alleged by the government to be connected to the Justice and Equality Movement, one of the main rebel groups in Darfur. (Reporting by Alastair Sharp; Editing by Sophie Hares)

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