Sudan opposition leader freed
Prominent opposition figure released after more than a month in detention.
Last Modified: 01 Jul 2010 02:23 GMT
Al-Turabi has criticised the manner in which Sudan's April elections were conducted [EPA]

A Sudanese opposition leader arrested after criticising the country's election earlier this year has been released from jail in the capital Khartoum.

Hassan al-Turabi was arrested in May in the capital Khartoum, a month after national elections which returned president Omar al-Bashir to power.

Speaking to the AFP news agency after his release late on Wednesday, he said he had been arrested "without cause" and described al-Bashir's government as a "dictatorship".

"I did not expect to be arrested," al-Turabi, 78, said from his home in Khartoum's Manshia district.

"Of course I am always against the dictatorship and if I make a statement, I take a strong attitude."

Armed security agents detained al-Turabi in his Khartoum home in mid-May then launched a dawn raid on his party's newspaper, Rai Al- Shaab, arresting staff and seizing a print-run.

He spent 45 days in jail and said he had been "isolated completely" during his detention.
Ballot rigging

In the days prior to his arrest al-Turabi accused al-Bashir of rigging the ballot in the country's first multi-party elections since 1986, in which parliamentary and state representatives, as well as a president were elected.

The vote itself was marred by complaints from other opposition groups and foreign poll monitors, as well as by accusations of fraud.

Observers from the European Union and the Carter Centre, headed by former US president Jimmy Carter, said after the five days of polling that the election had failed to reach international standards.

Al-Turabi was a former close associate of al-Bashir but has been arrested several times after falling out with him in a bitter power struggle more than 10 years ago.

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