Earlier this week, Dr. Mohamed Elgadi, an American citizen and Sudanese refugee, sent a passionate letter to President Obama describing his experience as a victim of torture in Sudan. Dr. Elgadi was one of many dissidents held in "ghost houses" by the Sudanese government, led by International Criminal Court indictee Omar al Bashir. In his letter, Elgadi recalls being mocked by his captors who told him "The President gave us free reign because you no longer exist."
Elgadi's letter comes just as the Sudanese government is engaging in a repressive crackdown on Darfuri students and activists in Khartoum. On March 11, state security forces ambushed a peaceful meeting of Darfuri students who were seeking to raise the profile of escalating violence in Darfur. Disturbingly, state security forces reportedly systematically rounding up and arresting Darfuri students.
These recent events echo Elgadi's account of his experience in the ghost houses:
"I was subjected to horrendous methods of torture including sexual torture as one of more than 30 different methods introduced by the Islamist regime. "
"While my colleagues and I were suffering the worst types of torture, the head of the regime announced in a televised speech that, “the talk about torture and Ghost Houses is just a nonsense and not true." I, along with 170 detainees, was being tortured at that moment. The guards mocked us saying, "The President gave us free reign because you no longer exist," as he announced to the world.
A former envoy to Sudan from a previous Administration had the gall to stand up in front of Sudanese refugees in the United States to say that he trusted working with Nafie Ali Nafie, then President Omer al-Bashir’s advisor. Nafie, known to Sudanese as Professor Torture, is the founder of the government-operated torture system in Sudan that is infamously known as the Ghost Houses and continues to be one of the key persons controlling the country. Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and other human rights groups published many reports on the horror of the Ghost Houses and the official policy of torture introduced by the current regime. Nonetheless, in April 2013, the State Department extended an official invitation to Nafie to come to the U.S. I was glad to see that, after widespread criticism, that invitation was subsequently cancelled.
As one of the many victims of torture of the Sudanese regime, I witnessed first-hand many horror stories and received many more accounts from families of those who could not make it out alive from this web of terror created by the Sudanese regime."
Photo: President Bashir of Sudan (AP)