After spending over a month in detention in Sudan, Rudwan Dawod — United States resident and Sudan Sunrise Program Director — was finally set to be released. Unfortunately, Sudan’s security forces had other plans.
The aid worker, husband and soon-to-be father had faced trumped up charges after he was arrested in early July for participating in a peaceful protest. On August 13, the judge found him not guilty of any serious charges, which could have carried the death penalty. Rudwan was found guilty of a lesser charge. He was sentenced to time served and a 500 Sudanese pound fine (90 U.S. dollars).
According to the judge, he was free to go home. Rudwan’s family and friends — including his wife who is eight months pregnant with their first child — were eagerly anticipating his arrival back in Oregon.
Rudwan’s freedom after weeks in prison should have been a happy occasion, but — just as his release papers were being signed — Sudan’s security forces came and “re-arrested” him. He is being held without charge and no one has been allowed access to him to date.
The blatant disregard for the rule of law is appalling. Further, there are credible concerns for Rudwan’s safety, and fear that he may be receiving harsh treatment, including physical and psychological abuse and torture. In all, as many as 2,000 people have been arrested and faced torture and abuse in recent weeks for taking part in peaceful protests throughout Sudan. Among them Rudwan’s case is unique, but not unprecedented.
In the face of this injustice, and on behalf of Rudwan and other detained for peaceful protests, we have an obligation to raise our voices.