Home | News    Friday 15 April 2005

Jailed Sudan Islamist Turabi in poor health - family

KHARTOUM, April 15 (Reuters) - The family of jailed Sudanese Islamist Hassan al-Turabi accused security forces on Friday of posing as health staff and giving Turabi a meningitis vaccination that could aggravate his already poor health.

Hassan al-Turabi

But a state security source said that Turabi had agreed to have the vaccination, as part of a general health campaign among prisoners.

Turabi, who once organised an international Islamist alliance, was jailed and his opposition Popular Congress Party (PCP) banned after the government accused them of an alleged coup attempt last March.

The family said in a statement that his own physicians had said such an injection could harm 73-year-old Turabi.

"On Thursday, April 14, 2005, four security staff, one posing as a vaccination functionary, injected Turabi with what security claimed was a vaccination against meningitis," the family said.

"Turabi’s doctors, all of whom are known to security, were not consulted and none of them ordered this vaccination."

His family said they have been trying to secure his transfer to an independent hospital.

"It has been 22 hours since the injection and the exact health condition of Turabi is not known and is presumed to be in danger," it said.

State security said all prisoners had been given vaccinations as part of a health campaign.

"All those who wanted to have the vaccination did, and all those who didn’t want to did not have the vaccination," said a state security source, who declined to be named.

"Turabi said he wanted to have the vaccination and was very happy about it," the source said, adding Turabi was in good health.

Attorney-General Mohamed Farid said on Thursday the 24 people, mostly army personnel, had been convicted of waging war against the state by attempting the coup last March, adding two-thirds of those convicted were from the PCP.

Turabi was previously detained for more than two years following a power struggle with President Omar Hassan al-Bashir in 2001. But Sudanese officials say he will be released when Sudan’s state of emergency is lifted in the capital, which should happen once a new government sworn in.

The signing of a peace deal in January to end more than two decades of civil war in Sudan’s south will lead to the new government of national unity, expected to be formed by July.