U.S. aid worker faces death penalty in Khartoum
The trial for Rudwan Dawod, an American resident, NGO aid worker, humanitarian and pro-democracy activist, who worked closely with former NBA Legend Manute Bol, continues Sunday n Khartoum. If convicted, Dawod could be sentenced to death.
Dawod, a Darfurian, has worked for three years as a volunteer project coordinator with Bol’s charity, the Washington based NGO Sudan Sunrise. Dawod worked extensively with Bol on his school in Bol’s hometown of Turalei, and in 2011 Dawod led a team of fellow Muslim peace activists who delivered relief food to refugees in Turalei. Dawod left his expectant American wife in Oregon in May for South Sudan to lead a Sudan Sunrise initiative of Muslims helping to rebuild a Catholic Cathedral in Torit, South Sudan, as a symbol of reconciliation in the face of recent church burnings in Khartoum.
During a lull in the planning phase, Dawod traveled to Khartoum to see his family, renew his visa, and join in non-violent protests with the Arab Spring youth movement Girifna (“We are fed up” in Arabic). After 10 days in Khartoum he was abducted, beaten, tortured for days and charged with terrorism. The media in Sudan has accused Dawod and his wife of working for the CIA and organizing a terrorist cell with plans to bomb Khartoum marketplaces. Girifna activists see this as a campaign to discredit the protest movement that could cost Dawod his life.
While incarcerated, Dawod was severely beaten by government agents for opposing the burning of churches and was tortured in an attempt to coerce a confession of working for the CIA.
The overnment of Sudan led by Omar Al-Bashir, who has been indicted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes in Darfur, has responded to demonstrations in the past six weeks by jailing hundreds of protestors (estimates range from 500 to 2,000 protestors currently held by the government).
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