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Sudanese opposition leader briefly detained
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Dec 29, 2008 - 9:31:49 PM

Sudanese opposition leader briefly detained
Monday, December 29, 2008

KHARTOUM, Sudan: A prominent Sudanese opposition leader was detained for several hours Monday for remarks he made in support of international charges against the country's President Omar al-Bashir for war crimes in Darfur, a pro-government Web site reported.

The Web site of the Sudan Media Center quoted a senior security official as saying that Ali Mahmoud Hassanein was interrogated about his public comments in support of the International Criminal Court in its case against al-Bashir. The official was not identified, a common practice by pro-government media in Sudan.

The ICC is expected to make a decision in the coming weeks on an request for an arrest warrant against al-Bashir for orchestrating genocide in Darfur. Sudan dismisses the court and the charges as politically motivated.

The Web site also cited the official as saying that Hassanein made the controversial remarks after a meeting with a Western diplomat from a country "known for its continued animosity" toward Sudan. There were no further details.

Earlier Monday, Hassanein's lawyer, Moaz Hadra, told The Associated Press of the detention but said it was unclear why his client was taken away from his home Monday morning.

Hassanein is a senior member of the Democratic Unionist Party and a vocal critic of the government. He has spoken against restrictions on press freedoms and security abuses.

Government officials were not available for comment.

The government recently approached the opposition DUP for support in its efforts to stave off international prosecution charges against President Omar al-Bashir for crimes in Darfur.

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