Darfur refugee claims sister being held ransom in Sinai

Volunteer who helps impoverished Holocaust survivors in Israel says Beduin holding his sister has threatened to kill her.

August 24, 2011 02:24
1 minute read.
Darfurian refugees in Tel Aviv.

Darfur refugees Tel Aviv 311 AJ. (photo credit: Ariel Jerzolomiski)

A Darfur refugee who volunteers helping impoverished Holocaust survivors in Israel said Tuesday that his sister is being held for ransom in Sinai, at a ‘torture camp’ where her captors are demanding $20,000 for her release.

The refugee, Adam Madhi, said that the Beduin holding his sister Laila said they will kill her by Thursday if they do not receive the money.

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Opinion: Genocide in Darfur, persecution in Israel

Madhi, who has been in Israel for four years, said that he received a phone call from the Sinai last week in which a Beduin man told him that his sister and an additional relative were being tortured within the Sinai. Mahdi said his sister had paid smugglers to take her through the Sinai to Israel, but along the way they or other Beduin called and said she was now being held for ransom, according to Mahdi.

Madhi has worked as a volunteer for the Association for Immediate Help for Holocaust Survivors, a small, relativelyunknown organization since shortly after he arrived in Israel fleeing the genocide in Darfur.

While no Israeli or Sudanese authority has confirmed the case, and specific details of this particular incident are lacking, there has been an epidemic in the Sinai of African migrants being held in so-called “torture camps” while their captors work to extort money from their relatives in Israel.

Many of the women held in such facilities face repeated sexual abuse, according to eyewitness testimonies that have been gathered by Israeli NGOs that have interviewed survivors.

In a report released by the Physicians for Human Rights-Israel in February, 52 percent of African migrants treated at a Jaffa clinic they operate report having suffered physical abuse while in Sinai.

Israeli NGOs have stated that they suspect that the situation has worsened as the Sinai has become more lawless since the Mubarak government fell in March.

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