Hassan al-Turabi had called for President Bashir to surrender to the International Criminal Court on war-crimes charges.
Sudan released opposition leader and Islamist ideologue Hassan al-Turabi from prison at dawn Monday, citing the 76-year-old’s fragile health, according to the Associated Press. He had been held for seven weeks without charge, his family says.
Mr. Turabi – whom the Monitor interviewed in 2007 – was arrested on Jan. 14 and sent to a prison in the eastern city of Port Sudan after telling reporters that Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir should surrender to the International Criminal Court (ICC), rather than risk causing instability should he be indicted on war-crimes charges.
Mr. Bashir is accused of masterminding the government’s war against Darfuri rebels, which the United Nations estimates has killed more than 300,000 people and internally displaced another 2.7 million.
Turabi is a major figure in Sudan, Africa’s largest country. He was once a key Bashir ally and seen as the spiritual force behind the 1989 coup that swept him to power.
During the 1990s, he was a leading advocate for the imposition of , or Islamic law, in the multireligious country, spurring further conflict between the Muslim-dominated North and the largely Christian and animist South.