Man home after a month in Sudan captivity
SPRINGFIELD, Ore. - Family and friends flocked to the Dawod home Wednesday night for an evening of celebration.
Some brought food and others brought flowers to welcome a special person that just made it back home - Rudwan Dawod.
Endless hugs and tears flowed through the crowd in the Dawod's backyard as everyone waited in line to personally welcome the Sudanese activist home.
"I'm still alive, I can't believe it really. It seems like it's not real," Dawod said to a friend as he received a hug.
Rudwan Dawod returns after he was arrested in Sudan in July and accused of working for the CIA.
Dawod denied the accusations, as he said he had traveled to Sudan to rebuild a Catholic church that was burned down by Muslim rebels.
Dawod was in jail for a little over a month. He said the experience is still fresh in his mind.
"They had beaten me a lot and they tortured me in many ways," Dawod said. "I was in a very bad situation."
The Sudanese activist said it was an experience so scary, that he did not have a whole lot of hope he'd make it back.
"They were trying to charge me with the death penalty and at least 15 years," Dawod said. "So I never really expected that I would be back."
But with help from his wife, Nancy, the U.S. government, and the prayers from strangers he had never met - the Sudanese government released Dawod from jail in mid August.
"Their prayers I guess got heard," Dawod said. "I really feel like I need to repay all of these good things one day," Dawod said.
Dawod was able to make it home just weeks before his baby girl is scheduled to be born.
"To see my wife, it's just really beautiful to be here finally and to see my little daughter," Dawod said. "She is coming in just two weeks. It's such a beautiful time and a very beautiful day for me."
The Dawod's baby is due on September 18th.