14 May 2005


Human rights stalwart jailed

14 May 2005
By Kieran McDaid

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PRESIDENT Mary McAleese paid tribute to a human rights champion at a reception in Dublin yesterday - as he languished in a Sudan prison after being arrested on his way to Ireland.

Dr Mudawi Ibrahim Adam was arrested just hours before he boarded a plane bound for Ireland to pick up the inaugural Front Line Award for his work in the field of human rights.

His wife, Sabah Mohamed Adam Ali, and 10-year-old daughter, Huda, were granted emergency visas and received the award on his behalf at a ceremony in City Hall, attended by 26 ambassadors, including the representatives of Britain and the US.

Mrs McAleese said Dr Mudawi, the director of the Sudan Social Development Organisation (SUDO), a voluntary organisation engaged in humanitarian activities in Darfur and human rights development throughout the country, worked tirelessly for others.

“Dr Mudawi has been profoundly involved in humanitarian and human rights work throughout Sudan but of course the dreadful misery that is Darfur has consumed much of his recent work and focus,” she said.

“He has paid a high personal price for that work - harassment, imprisonment, false allegations, solitary confinement,” said Mrs McAleese.

“He has protested through hunger strike and faces an uncertain future. He has earned this award the hard way. He has also earned our respect but of course what he yearns for is probably none of those things but rather the kind of national and international pressure which would render his work unnecessary.”

Dr Mudawi, a 49-year-old professor of engineering, has been arrested on two previous occasions by the Sudanese authorities. Front Line, an Irish-based international organisation which provides grants, advocacy and protection for human rights defenders at risk from intimidation or violence, rewarded Dr Mudawi for his work in the war-torn country.

Dr Mudawi, who is facing espionage charges which carry a potential death penalty, sent a message of thanks to the reception.

“I will continue the effort in Sudan to bring democracy and rule of law so that people’s rights are respected,” he said. “I thank Front Line for exerting pressure to defend human rights defenders and for supporting them.

“I appreciate it. I exhort people to support Front Line in this work. I also want to thank the Irish Government for their efforts and ask them to continue.

“I am grateful for the award and honoured by the presence of the President of Ireland.”

Sabah also thanked Front Line for the award.

“As a wife and as a Sudanese citizen I believe that he deserves the award because he believes in what he is doing and he is ready to sacrifice himself for the human rights of others,” she said.

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