Oregon activist freed after harrowing arrest, trial and threat of death penalty in Sudan!
Rudwan Dawod, shown with his wife Nancy here in Oregon, will live to see his child born in Oregon after all, he has been held since early July, released and then quickly taken back into custody once now he’s with his dad.
(EUGENE, OR) – We have just received confirmation that Rudwan Dawod has just been released by the Government of Sudan! Rudwan is a leader of many of Sudan Sunrise’s reconciliation and humanitarian initiatives.
Rudwan was just released approximately one-half hour ago, before midnight Khartoum time. He is now with his family. He is reported to be in good condition. Our understanding is that the NISS is not going to file additional charges, and that Rudwan will be allowed to return to the US soon. It will take several days for him to get his travel documents in order, but it is possible he could return to the US next week. If all goes well he will be home in time to be with his wife, Nancy, for the birth of their daughter (named “Sudan”).
Rudwan was abducted on July 3, beaten until unconscious, and tortured for several days. He was charged with terrorism, which could have brought the death penalty. A media campaign in Sudan accused him of working for the CIA to organize terrorists to bomb Khartoum marketplaces. On Monday of this week Rudwan was acquitted of all charges, except the minor (and false) charge of “preparing to create a public disturbance.” He was sentenced to time served plus a small fine, around $100 US, which was paid on the spot by his friends.
As the judge announced that Rudwan was free to go, an officer with Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) intervened, presenting a document calling for Rudwan’s re-arrest. Observers described the NISS as “very angry” with the court’s decision.
Since Monday Rudwan has been held by the NISS, in a location they would not disclose. Neither his family nor his lawyers were allowed to have contact with him.
The pressure for Rudwan’s release may have contributed to the release of many other of the non-violent protestors. Beginning Monday of this week the Government of Sudan began releasing women who had been detained for participating in the protest movement. Yesterday more men and women were released, and today Omar al Bashir, the President of Sudan, announced that all political prisoners would be released by the end of the day. We do not know how many have been released, nor how many remain in custody. This has been interpreted as a gesture of good will by the Bashir regime to allow protestors to celebrate the Muslim holiday Eid with their families this Saturday.
Many many thanks to everyone who has signed petitions, gotten out the word, prayed and done all you can to advocate for Rudwan’s release!
With deep appreciation and best wishes,