THE BLOG
07/30/2007 03:22 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

An Open Letter to Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir

Suleiman Jamous is a man of indisputable moral integrity who has provided life saving humanitarian access through volatile rebel territories. He is responsible for saving tens of thousands of lives.

The head of a prominent aid organization who asked that he not be named, said, "There is no doubt that Suleiman Jamous was very important to humanitarian agencies." He described Mr. Jamous as a champion of "humanitarian principles and human rights." He said, "There is no doubt that not having him in Darfur has made access negotiations less certain and more complicated."

For 13 months Suleiman Jamous has been deprived of liberty by the Government of Sudan. His presence is sorely missed by aid workers who cannot reach one million displaced people -- an unprecedented number.

UN doctors in Kadugli where he is being held say the elderly Mr. Jamous is in poor health and in need of a stomach biopsy.

Suleiman Jamous is respected across the rebel divide. President Omar el Bashir is well aware that the detainment of Mr Jamous will undermine efforts to create peace and unity between rebel groups.

This letter asks Omar el Bashir to release Suleiman Jamous, the elder statesman, a rebel who never picked up a gun.

Open Letter to President Omar Al Bashir

30 July 2007

Dear President Bashir,

We are writing to petition you to allow Mr Suleiman Jamous to travel freely to obtain urgent medical attention.

In our different capacities, we have come to know and respect Suleiman for his humanitarian work in Darfur and his commitment to the wellbeing of the people of Sudan. He exemplified the best tradition of civic activism in Sudan including personal piety and self-sacrifice in the cause of providing essential assistance to those in need.

For one year, Suleiman Jamous has been confined to a hospital in Kadugli, South Kordofan. He is suffering from an abdominal complaint and needs urgent medical attention he cannot get in Kadugli. Without this attention his condition is deteriorating.

We fully appreciate the complexities of the circumstances that led to Suleiman being taken to Kadugli and kept there. Commenting on these political circumstances is beyond our collective concerns. However we believe that it is not appropriate for an individual Sudanese citizen in need of medical care to be confined in this way because of such considerations. First and foremost, Suleiman Jamous is an individual with all the rights that a Sudanese citizen should enjoy.

It is within your power to enable him to travel to obtain the treatment he needs. We respectfully ask you to do so.

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu

Mia Farrow, goodwill UNICEF ambassador

Juan Mendez, president of the International Centre for Transitional Justice and former UN Special Advisor to the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide

Richard Holbrooke, former US ambassador to the United Nations

Vaclav Havel, former president of Czechoslovakia

Chibli Mallat, Lebanese presidential candidate and Professor of Law and Politics of the Middle East, University of Utah

Jody Williams, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate

Alex de Waal, fellow of the Global Equity Initiative, Harvard University
Julie Flint, independent writer and researcher

Bahey El-Din Hassan, Secretary General of the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights

miafarrow.org