Darfur woman backed by local activists freed from prison
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A woman from the Darfur region of Sudan, whose arrest in May by the government there moved Pittsburgh-area Sudanese to push for her release, was freed Wednesday along with other political prisoners.
Hawa Abdullah, a 26-year-old aid worker and activist, was released in Sudan's capital, Khartoum, and taken to a local hospital for a checkup, said Khairunissa Dhala, who is with Amnesty International's Sudan campaign.
Ismail Omar, a Darfurian immigrant who lives in Castle Shannon, was elated when he learned of her release Wednesday night.
"It is very good news," said Mr. Omar, who started the local support for Ms. Abdullah after getting to know her via several phone calls in the month prior to her arrest. "Now I want to find out what I can about her situation."
Mr. Omar's efforts led to letters being sent to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton calling for Ms. Abdullah's release from, among others, Pittsburgh City Council, Sen. Bob Casey, and Rep. Mike Doyle.
David Rosenberg, coordinator for the Pittsburgh Darfur Emergency Coalition, said her release is a testament to the impact local activists can have on international events.
In the face of so much daunting news about ongoing problems in Sudan, Mr. Rosenberg said: "Once in awhile something good actually gets done."
First Published July 14, 2011 2:56 pm