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november 29, 2012 • 03:38 PM

Detained Sudan ex-spy chief taken to hospital, brother says

Sudan's former spy chief has been admitted to hospital with heart problems, days after he was arrested and accused of fomenting a plot to undermine the country's stability, his brother said on Thursday.

Salah Gosh, who led Sudan's powerful intelligence and security agency until 2009, was detained on November 22 along with 12 others suspected of fomenting a plot to "incite chaos" in Sudan, according to government officials.

Analysts say the arrests lifted the lid on divisions in Sudan's power structure and could be seen as a warning to people suspected of planning to challenge the authority of President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, who has been in power for 23 years.

State news agency SUNA said on Tuesday that Bashir had been briefed on alleged confessions from the detainees, but officials have refused to provide details of the alleged plot.

The brother, Abdelazim Abdallah, said Gosh was taken on Wednesday to a high-security hospital after his health deteriorated during detention, and his wife and sons were allowed to visit him there on Thursday.

"He has been suffering from a heart condition for a while. His health is in danger," Abdallah said. "We demand that he either be charged or released."

Government officials and the security services could not be reached immediately for comment.

Bashir faces dissent over an economic crisis that has piled more hardship on ordinary people and squeezed the system of patronage he relies upon for the loyalty of key figures in the army, security services and ruling party.

(Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz; Writing by Ulf Laessing; Editing by Tom Pfeiffer)

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