In Sudan, aid worker faces possible death sentence

    Rudwan Dawod, a project director at Sudan Sunrise, has been charged with criminal organization and terrorism in Sudan. Photo by: Nancy Williams Dawod

    An American aid worker is fighting for his life in Khartoum, where he is charged with criminal organization and terrorism.

    Rudwan Dawod is a project director at Sudan Sunrise, a nonprofit supported by the late NBA star Manute Bol. He is on trial in Sudan and is awaiting sentencing. He could be acquitted, or “sentenced to death” as early as today, July 31, Sudan Sunrise Executive Director Tom Prichard told Fox News.

    Dawod was arrested July 3 while participating in a peaceful protest organized by Girifna, a student-led movement in Sudan. He was beaten, tortured and portrayed as a CIA operative organizing a plot to bomb Khartoum, Sudan Sunrise Chairman John Zogby wrote on Nick Kristof’s “On the Ground” blog.

    But Dawod’s wife, Nancy Williams Dawod, who he met while volunteering for the nongovernmental organization in 2009, said Dawod’s message was “always peaceful.” Dawod has worked on a number of humanitarian projects in South Sudan and has helped broker peace between Muslims and Christians in Sudan.

    Dawod’s arrest was seen by many as a way to scare protesters. Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court, has been clamping down on protesters since June, putting some 2,000 of them behind bars, according to Zogby.

    Dawod’s case remains uncertain. His lawyers are expected to finish their case July 31. But the judge presiding over the case has allegedly identified Girifna as a “terrorist organization,” sources told Prichard, reports.

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    About the author

    • Jenny Lei Ravelo

      Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.

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