Published August 17, 2012
A U.S. humanitarian aid worker and Sudanese activist has been released from custody by Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Service, sources close to the matter told FoxNews.com.
Rudwan Dawod, 29, of Springfield, Ore., was released late Thursday and is hoping to return to the United States and his pregnant wife, Nancy, as early as next week, said Tom Prichard, executive director of Sudan Sunrise, a Washington-based organization where Dawod works as a project director.
“I spoke to him and, you know, he’s in amazingly good shape,” Prichard told FoxNews.com Friday. “His sister said he looks good. He’s in good spirits.”
Dawod, who was arrested in Khartoum last month and faced terrorism charges, must now report to Sudan’s security forces every morning and cannot leave a designated area of Khartoum. He also signed a document indicating he plans to leave Sudan in “short order,” Prichard said.
“Right now it looks like he’ll be able to come back to the U.S. shortly,” he said. “We want to get him out of there as fast as we can.”
Charges against Dawod were dropped on Monday by a judge but he was ordered to pay a fine of 500 Sudanese pounds – roughly $100 – for planning to burn tires during a protest against the ongoing violence in the region and the Sudanese government under President Omar Hassan Al-Bashir.
"The judge said you're free to go and they of ushered him out," Prichard said Monday. "They said, 'Before you an be released from the custody of the court, come this way,' and they put him in a police car and took him off."
Dawod, who was working to rebuild a Catholic cathedral in South Sudan after Sudanese forces burned it down, was then taken into custody by government authorities after the fine was paid by Dawod’s associates and he was released on time served. The native Darfurian was originally arrested in Khartoum on July 3 while visiting relatives and attempting to renew his Sudanese passport.
U.S. State Department officials, in a statement to FoxNews.com earlier week, called on the Sudanese government to release Dawod and honor the judge’s decision. A request seeking additional comment on Friday was not immediately returned.
Dawod’s wife, Nancy Williams Dawod, who is expecting the couple’s first child next month, told FoxNews.com she was "incredibly overjoyed" by her husband's release.
"It's amazing," she told FoxNews.com by phone. "I am so incredibly overjoyed. It was so good to finally hear Rudwan's voice and that he's with his family."
Dawod will celebrate Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr with relatives in Sudan and hopes to return to Oregon sometime late next week, she said.
"So now he’s celebrating with family," she said. "It’s perfect timing for him ... We’ll get him on a plane as quickly as possible, so hopefully by the end of next week."