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Actress Mia Farrow Offers to Exchange Her Freedom for Darfur Rebel's Safe Passage


Mia Farrow has offered to relinquish her freedom so that an ailing Darfur rebel can get safe passage out of a hospital.

In an August 6 letter posted on her website, the 62-year-old actress-activist made the offer to Sudan's President Omar Al-Bashir.

Suleiman Jamous, a moderate who has been a key link between Darfur rebels and aid workers in the beleaguered Sudanese region, is in a U.N. hospital suffering from abdominal problems. The U.N. said he is free to leave, but he fears arrest or government reprisal.

In her letter to President Al-Bashir, Farrow said "As you are undoubtedly aware, Mr. Jamous is in need of a medical procedure that cannot be carried out in Kadugli. I am therefore offering to take Mr. Jamous' place, to exchange my freedom for his, in the knowledge of his importance to the civilians of Darfur and in the conviction that he will apply his energies toward creating the just and lasting peace that the Sudanese people deserve and hope for."

Mia Farrow has traveled to Darfur as a UNICEF goodwill ambassador and signed her letter with that title.

Attempts to reach Sudan's Foreign Ministry spokesman on August 7 were not successful. On August 2, the Sudanese government said it would consider a separate written plea by activists and celebrities, including Farrow and South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, to guarantee Jamous' safe passage.

A leader of one of Darfur's largest rebel groups, the Sudan Liberation Army, Jamous was seized last year and transferred for medical treatment to the U.N. hospital. He has faced threats from rival rebel chiefs and some government forces.

Humanitarian workers consider Jamous the leader who may best guarantee the safety of their aid convoys, which have come under attack in the area. Activists also say he could spur renewed negotiations between rebel groups and the government after last year's peace deal failed to quell the violence.

UNICEF spokeswoman Kate Donovan said on August 6 that the organization was unaware of Mia Farrow's offer, and would like to consult with her before commenting.

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