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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Why was George Clooney willing to get arrested?

Amnesty International
What was actor George Clooney doing in jail, while Sudan's president and indicted war crimes suspect Omar al-Bashir runs free?
The Internet was abuzz on Friday with the news. Actor George Clooney was arrested, along with members of Congress and other civil society leaders, while protesting human rights violations in Sudan at a Washington, DC, rally attended by Amnesty International and other NGOs.

But they got the wrong man.

The real suspect? Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who remains at large despite being indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in Darfur.

As Sudanese civilians suffer from starvation and indiscriminate bombing attacks, al-Bashir continues on as Sudan's head of state, leaving war crimes in his wake and travelling the globe with impunity.

No more hiding in plain sight, President al-Bashir.

It's time to arrest Omar al-Bashir and the three other Sudanese wanted by the International Criminal Court and surrender them to the ICC for trial. Tell the United Nations that as long as war crimes suspects are on the loose, civilians will continue to be at grave risk. 

The longer it takes to bring fugitives like al-Bashir to justice, the longer civilians suffer. In Sudan, civilians are under fire as Sudanese Armed Forces -- under the leadership of yes, Omar al-Bashir -- conduct devastating and indiscriminate bombing raids.

And the humanitarian crisis in Sudan is escalating. Livelihoods have been ruined after years of Sudan's war-torn chaos, and al-Bashir's self-imposed blockade on humanitarian aid to the Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile regions puts countless people at risk of hunger or starvation.

Friday's rally in response to the dire human rights situation in Sudan was inspiring. More than a hundred activists joined George Clooney, congressional human rights champions, and Amnesty's NGO partners to shine a light on Sudan's ongoing human rights crisis.

Our message was clear -- fugitives from international justice like al-Bashir can no longer be allowed to commit the worst crimes under international law with impunity. They must be brought to justice.

Inaction has proven deadly in a suffering Sudan. But with your help, the next high-profile arrest will be of a criminal fugitive from the ICC, not a Hollywood celebrity.

Join us in calling on the United Nations to step up its efforts to advance peace and justice by providing the necessary support to make the arrest of Omar al-Bashir -- and his fellow ICC fugitives -- a long-awaited reality. 

For justice,

Scott Edwards
Advocacy, Policy and Research
Amnesty International USA


What do Amnesty and George Clooney have in common? We both want to see Sudanese war crimes suspects brought to justice. Tell the UN to protect civilians in Sudan and bring to justice President Omar al-Bashir and other war crimes suspects.

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