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Cablegate: Darfur: Hac Interrogates Amcit Humanitarian Worker

VZCZCXYZ0010
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHKH #0462/01 0901352
ZNR UUUUU ZZH (CCY AD770271 MSI7469-695)
P 301352Z MAR 08 ZDS
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0332
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0119
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS KHARTOUM 000462

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

C O R R E C T E D COPY TEXT

DEPT FOR AF/SPG, S/CRS
DEPT PLS PASS USAID FOR AFR/SUDAN
DEPT FOR CA/OCS/ACS/AF
AMEMBASSY CAIRO FOR DAVID POTTER

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ASO APER CASC PGOV PREL PHUM SOCI SU
SUBJECT: DARFUR: HAC INTERROGATES AMCIT HUMANITARIAN WORKER

REF: A) KHARTOUM 340

B) KHARTOUM 106
C) KHARTOUM 100
D) KHARTOUM 91

1. (SBU) SUMMARY. During the week of March 10, a Korean-American
employee of the American Jewish World Service, visiting El Fasher,
North Darfur, was questioned by officials of the Humanitarian Aid
Commission (HAC) for possible links to a Darfur rebel group which
has opened an office in Israel and was prevented from departing
Sudan until March 17. The incident rattled an already shaky Darfur
humanitarian community and is the second time in three months that
HAC has detained an American citizen in Darfur (Ref B). END
SUMMARY.

HAC LEVELS ALLEGATIONS AGAINST AMCIT VISITOR
--------------------------------------------
2. (SBU) During the week of March 10, Matthew Emry, a
Korean-American employee of the American Jewish World Service
(AJWS), was questioned by HAC officials in El Fasher and Khartoum
over alleged affiliations to Darfur rebel movements. AJWS is an
international development organization that offers grants to many
international non-governmental organizations operating in Darfur,
including International Rescue Committee (IRC), which Emry was
visiting during the time of the incident. The IRC had sponsored
Emry's visa for his travel to Sudan. On March 16, Emry was permitted
to travel to Khartoum, where he was again questioned by HAC until he
was permitted to depart on March 17.

3. (SBU) IRC Country Director Sherman contacted conoff on March 17
to report that Emry had been questioned in El Fasher by HAC and was
at the time being questioned in Khartoum. Sherman told conoff that
HAC officials had accused Emry of supporting rebel groups,
specifically Sudan Liberation Army leader Abdulwahid Nur who
recently opened an SLA office in Tel Aviv. Emry was permitted to
depart later that evening. Sherman told conoff that Emry had never
been officially arrested or charged. A week after the incident,
Sherman met with the HAC to discuss delayed visas for IRC employees.
Instead, HAC officials used the meeting to accuse Sherman of using
the IRC to support SLA/Abdulwahid. [NOTE: According to a March 27
report in the Sudanese newspaper Al-Ahdath, Emry was being
investigated for posing as an IRC employee to conceal his AJWS
employment and meet Darfur IDPs affiliated with Abdelwahid. The
paper went on to claim that Emry himself was behind Abdelwahid's
recent decision to open an SLA office in Israel (Ref A). END NOTE]

4. (SBU) IRC AMCIT employee Melissa Alvarado (please protect)
contacted FieldOff during the week of March 24 to recount the
circumstances of Emry's interrogation. According to Alvarado,
Emry's treatment had been "harsh" and that he had "looked awful" by
the time he left for Khartoum. During those four days, Emry was
questioned at the HAC office in El Fasher and then released to the
IRC guesthouse at night. In addition to questioning Emry about his
ties to rebel movements, HAC officials, according to Alvarado,
seized his laptop, which contained sensitive information about
women's health programs being carried out in Darfur by AJWS
partners, including IRC (Alvarado works in Gender-Based Violence for
IRC). HAC authorities demanded Emry surrender his personal e-mail
address and password, which authorities then changed after having
gone through his messages.

5. (SBU) Alvarado told fieldoff that during Emry's interrogation in
El Fasher she contacted IRC Country Director Sherman in Khartoum to
ask for assistance. She was told that IRC would make no overtures
to the Embassy on Emry's behalf. Alvarado disagreed with her
Country Director's decision not to involve the Embassy or other
Khartoum offices, especially as she is now concerned about her own
personal security. Alvarado says that during IRC Country Director
Sherman's meeting with HAC officials in Khartoum during the week of
March 24, HAC officials had mentioned Alvarado by name and had
inquired about her own possible affiliations with Darfur rebel
movements. FieldOff encouraged Alvarado to register with the Embassy
and to remain in contact in the field to follow up on any possible
situations that may arise.

6. (SBU) COMMENT. This incident was the second in three months
involving HAC action against AMCITs of the INGO community in El
Fasher. This latest incident shows a heightened sense of paranoia
among HAC officials with regard to INGOS' work in Darfur, paranoia
fed by the heavy negative coverage the regime gave to Abdulwahid's
recent opening of an office in Israel. Such GoS reaction is having
tangible effects on the ground for not only INGOs; many IDPs
continually tell us that they have already noticed a decreased
presence of international humanitarian organizations, and this
latest incident will do nothing to convince them otherwise. Embassy
will continue to press HAC and other GOS officials on the
unacceptable and self-defeating nature of such actions. Embassy and
El Fasher field office will reinforce with the INGO community the
need to maintain contact with the Embassy in order to ensure the
accountability and security of its members, particularly in cases
involving AMCITs.

7. (U) Tripoli minimize considered.

FERNANDEZ

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