By DR. MUDAWI'S FAMILY
Dr. Mudawi Ibrahim is a globally renowned human rights defender, risking his life to protest killings in Darfur and to ease the suffering of others around Sudan. Now he is in prison in Sudan, facing charges that could lead to the death penalty. Here, his family speaks out.
Our father, Dr. Mudawi Ibrahim, has been detained by the Sudanese authorities for six months now without trial, solely for his work defending the rights of the Sudanese people. He has been fighting for the dignity and rights of others for as long as we can remember.
He was arrested in December 2016, though we were not informed of his arrest until a week later. Our home was raided and searched more than once: men with guns kept coming to our house to intimidate us. Our phone calls were monitored. We did not know where he was being held, nor were we allowed to see him or speak to him. All we could do was to petition the authorities for even the slightest bit of information. We were most often met with silence.
Finally, released detainees gave us some information: our father had gone on a hunger strike in protest of his illegal and arbitrary detention. As a result, he was chained by his hands and feet to a pipe and forced to stand in the brutal heat of the Khartoum sun. Our father did not break. He continued his hunger strike for one week until he was allowed access to us, his family, 51 days after his arrest. But still, they did not tell him why he was being detained.
Last month, 126 days after he was arrested, we were finally informed of the charges against him. Two of them are punishable by death. Despite the seriousness of the charges, he was only questioned twice during the entirety of his detention.
The defiance and kindness of Dr. Mudawi remains extraordinary, though the detention has taken a toll. He is 61, and he is fatigued and thin.
We live in continuous worry about the injustice that he is facing. Despite being detained for six months, the case is still not in court. Government officials know that, given the opportunity for a fair trial, our father will be cleared of all charges and the injustice of his case – and many like it – will be revealed.
We ask the international community to stand with us in solidarity. Our father’s only crime is being a human rights defender, fighting for the people of Sudan to live with dignity. So far, authorities have turned a blind eye and a deaf ear to our legitimate pleas for justice. We require your support to ensure our father is provided a fair trial.
Published on The NY Times on June 7, 2017.