Reps. Michael E. Capuano and Barbara Lee, Democratic Co-Chairs of House Sudan Caucus Release Statement
“In response to recent austerity policies, and continued violence in areas such as the Nuba Mountains, Blue Nile, and Darfur, Sudanese activists have taken to the streets to protest. At a protest organized by the student-led advocacy group Girifna on July 3rd, Sudan's National Intelligence and Security Forces (NISS) arrested Rudwan Dawod, a US resident, student and human rights activist. Rudwan is leading a reconciliation project in South Sudan for the US-based NGO Sudan Sunrise.
Demonstrations have been organized primarily by youth movements, but have also received support from opposition parties within Sudan. The Sudanese government has denied there could be any possible nexus to the Arab Spring, and has reacted violently by physically attacking protestors, confiscating phones and cameras, and arresting and detaining demonstrators since the protests in mid-June. This situation cannot continue.”
“Rudwan’s American wife Nancy will give birth to their first child in September. Rudwan has reportedly been beaten, tortured, threatened with rape, and falsely charged with terrorism and criminal organization by the Sudanese government.”
“Recent reports indicate that journalists were not allowed in Rudwan’s last court hearing, and we have troubling information that both the judge and the NISS have made disparaging statements regarding Rudwan before hearing even from defense attorneys. Rudwan’s lawyers are scheduled to bring their case before the judge on Sunday, July 29th. If convicted, Rudwan could face years in prison, where he is likely to suffer further abuse, or even the death penalty.”
“As co-chairs of the Sudan Caucus, we call on the Government of Sudan to hold a transparent and free and fair trial for Rudwan and all other detainees. Journalists and international human rights observers should be allowed access to the courtroom. We also call on the government to cease its denial of the basic human rights and civil liberties of its people, and to release all political and civil rights detainees in Sudan. We further appeal to the Obama Administration to use its influence to increase awareness and support for Rudwan Dawod, and all human rights and pro-democracy movements in Sudan.”
Alison Mills (Rep. Capuano) (617) 621-6208
Kristal Dekleer (Rep. Lee) (202) 225-2661