Sudan: Mudawi Ibrahim Adam chosen as Defender of Human Rights & Freedom of Expression in November 2017

(Cairo & Beirut, 9 November 2017) – The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI), Maharat Foundation, and the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR), in cooperation with IFEX, nominated prominent human rights defender Mudawi Ibrahim Adam from Sudan, founder and chairman of The Sudanese Organization for Social Development (SUDO), as the Defender of Human Rights & Freedom of Expression for the month of November 2017 as part of the campaign entitled Supporting Human Rights Defenders and Freedom of Expression.

In 2005, Mudawi Ibrahim Adam won the Annual Front Line Defenders Award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk, which is awarded annually to one of the most prominent human rights defenders around the world.

Mudawi Ibrahim is a professor of engineering at the University of Khartoum. He received his PhD in mechanical engineering from the University of Khartoum in 1981, and spent two years doing research at NASA.

Mudawi established The Sudanese Organization for Social Development (SUDO) in April 2001. The organization opened a number of child care and nutrition centers, in addition to digging water wells, building health care centers and basic education schools in camps for the displaced communities in Darfur. SUDO also monitored violations of human rights and international humanitarian law.

In March 2009, the Sudanese government refused to recognize the International Criminal Court (ICC), expelled 13 NGOs and closed three organizations, including SUDO, after the ICC Trial Chamber issued an arrest warrant for President Omar al-Bashir on charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes against the Sudanese people of Darfur.

Mudawi has been persecuted against the backdrop of his human rights stance, he was arrested for eight months in December 2003 for his work in Darfur. The government dropped the case in August 2004, then he was re-arrested in 2005, and released without charges and then re-arrested in May of the same year. He spent another eight days in detention and was sentenced in December 2010 to one year in prison and fined 3,000 Sudanese pounds (about $ 450) and he got released a month later.

Finally, the Sudanese authorities launched a defamation campaign against Mudawi, based on the false confusion between monitoring and documenting human rights violations and “espionage” for foreign parties. Dr. Mudawi and others were arrested on 7 December 2016, against the backdrop of helping Amnesty International prepare a report “Scorched earth, poisoned air: Sudanese government forces ravage Jebel Marra, Darfur” which accused the Sudanese authorities and President Omar al-Bashir of using chemical weapons in the Jebel Marra area. On August 29, while the trial was still ongoing, the Sudanese President issued an amnesty for Mudawi Ibrahim Adam and others who had been charged with fabricated accusations.

Prior to choosing Madawi Ibrahim Adam, the “Supporting Human Rights Defenders and Freedom of Expression” campaign, which was launched last February, chose – prominent human rights defender and brave Tunisian journalist Naziha Rjiba (Om Zied) as the defender of the month of February, then prominent human rights defender and blogger Ahmed Mansour from UAE, who was arbitrarily arrested as the defender of human rights and freedom of expression for March, followed by prominent human rights lawyer Gamal Eid from Egypt for April, and prominent human rights defender Hanaa Edwar from Iraq for May, the three journalists of the Omani newspaper Azamn Ibrahim Al-MaamariYousef Al-Haj and Zaher Al-Abri as the defenders of human rights and freedom of expression for June, Moroccan human rights defender and journalist Ali Anouzla for July, Palestinian rights defender Jamil Dakwar for August, prominent human rights activist Wadad Halawani from Lebanon for September and prominent human rights defender Radhya Al-Mutawakel from Yemen for October 2017.