Sudan frees US resident held without charge: lawyer
8/17/2012 3:50:02 PM -
KHARTOUM (AFP) - A US resident detained without charge in Sudan after involvement in anti-government protests has been freed, a lawyer said on Friday, after Washington called for his release.
Rudwan Daud, 29, a Sudanese citizen, was taken away by state security agents on Monday shortly after a trial judge ordered him to be freed after paying a fine for his role in Arab Spring-style demonstrations.
The judge convicted Daud of creating a disturbance and sentenced him to the several weeks he had already spent in custody, dismissing a terrorism-linked conspiracy and other charges.
During the release procedure police handed him to state security agents, who have played a key role in suppressing the demonstrations which began in mid-June with University of Khartoum students protesting over high food prices.
"They released him last night without any charge," one of Daud's lawyers, Abdelmoneem Adam, told AFP.
"They said to him, 'You have to leave Sudan as soon as possible.'"
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland on Tuesday had urged Khartoum to respect the rights of its citizens.
"We strongly urge the government of Sudan to honour the decision by the judge, which was rooted in Sudanese criminal law as well as established precedent, and release Daud," she said.
Daud is an activist with Girifna ("We are fed up"), a non-violent youth movement which, like its counterparts in Syria and elsewhere, has used Twitter and other social media to spread its anti-government message and support street protests.
Girifna said Daud was arrested at his home on July 3 after helping to organise a protest in his Khartoum-area neighbourhood.
Scores of peaceful protesters were arrested in anti-regime demonstrations which were repeatedly dispersed with excessive force, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said in a joint statement in July.
The demonstrations have faded during the holy month of Ramadan.
Adam said Daud, a student in the US, has been back in Sudan for about a year. He lives in Oregon with his pregnant wife.
Daud's family is urging him to return to the United States, the lawyer said.