American aid worker faces death sentence in Sudan
By: Jim Kouri, CPP
The trial of an American NGO (non-governmental organization) aid worker, humanitarian and pro-democracy activist, Rudwan Dawod, who worked closely with former NBA legend Manute Bol prior to his untimely death, is scheduled to continue on Sunday in Khartoum, Sudan.
“If convicted, Dawod could be sentenced to death,” said Maria Sliwa, founder and CEO of Freedom Now Communications. Sliwa, a former law enforcement officer, is the sister of talk show host and Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa.
Although a Muslim, Dawod and his fellow aid workers were hard at work helping to bring about peace between the nation’s Muslims and Christians when he was arrested by corrupt government officials who turn a blind eye to religious persecution in their country, according to Ms. Sliwa.
Dawod is originally from Darfur, the scene of one of the world’s worst episodes of genocide.
He has worked for three years as a volunteer project coordinator with Bol’s charity, the Washington DC-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 Christian refugees in Turalei.
Dawod left his expectant American wife, Nancy, in Oregon in May and headed 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 by Islamic extremists 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 ten days in Khartoum he was abducted, beaten, tortured for days, and then charged with terrorism,” stated Sliwa, a former NYPD police veteran.
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 Government 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).
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police and he's a columnist for The Examiner (examiner.com) and New Media Alliance (thenma.org). In addition, he's a blogger for the Cheyenne, Wyoming Fox News Radio affiliate KGAB (www.kgab.com). Kouri also serves as political advisor for Emmy and Golden Globe winning actor Michael Moriarty. He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for several major organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. Kouri writes for many police and security magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer and others. He's a news writer and columnist for AmericanDaily.Com, MensNewsDaily.Com, MichNews.Com, and he's syndicated by AXcessNews.Com. Kouri appears regularly as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Fox News Channel, Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, etc. To subscribe to Kouri's newsletter write to COPmagazine@aol.com and write "Subscription" on the subject line.