In a highly publicized event, George Clooney was arrested at the Sudanese embassy on Friday in Washington while protesting the Sudanese government's role in the country's food crisis. Around 6,500 miles away in Khartoum, Sudan, a female activist, Jalila Khameis, was reportedly taken by government forces from her home for supporting the same cause as Clooney.
For months, Clooney has protested the Sudanese food crisis, accusing President Omar al-Bashir of blocking food and humanitarian assistance to the Nuba mountains in the country's border region with South Sudan. Clooney was arrested Friday for refusing to leave the lawn of the Sudanese embassy.
Khameis, 45, who is from the Nuba mountains, is a Sudanese activist, teacher and NGO worker who shelters people displaced by the crisis, according to Sudanese human rights group Arry.org According to Arry, she was arrested by Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) on Friday at her home, allegedly because she was hosting 20 displaced people from her village.
“They just kidnapped her in seconds. When we got outside the house they [had] already left,” Khameis’ husband told Arry.
Khameis is also a member of the Sudan People's Liberation- North, a banned political party in the country, according to Arry.
Requests for comment from the Sudanese government and Arry were not immediately returned.
In a 2010 report, human rights group Amnesty International wrote that the NISS had carried out a brutal campaign of “arbitrary detentions, torture, and mental and physical intimidation against opponents and critics of the government.” During the first half of 2010, the NISS arrested 34 people, including journalists, human rights activists and students, according to Amnesty.
Much of Sudan’s humanitarian crisis is taking place in its volatile border area with South Sudan. Since South Sudan seceded last July, the region has descended into violence, with ongoing deadly border clashes amid a standoff over oil. Aid agencies are unable to get into the region and thousands are seeking to escape.
In a recent video on the crisis, Clooney asked: “How many more bodies until the Nuba Mountains become the next Darfur?”
Watch the full video, which Clooney showed to the U.S. Senate this week, below.
(WARNING: There are graphic images inside that may be upsetting.)