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Hawa Abdallah Mohammed Salih has experienced enough horror for several lifetimes. Last year, the 28-year-old Darfur activist was held for two months in a state prison in Khartoum, Sudan‘s capital. There she was beaten, raped and subjected to electric shock by sadistic security forces that promised to kill her if she didn’t end her advocacy on behalf of women and girls in Darfur.
But Hawa Salih did not curtail her activism. Even after multiple arrests, she continued her work, decrying the routine abuse of women and girls.
The international community responded to Ms. Salih’s uncommon bravery by bringing pressure on the Sudanese government to release her. Democratic Sen. Bob Casey and Rep. Mike Doyle of Forest Hills added their voices to thousands who wrote letters of support for the activist last year. As a result, Ms. Salih was released and allowed to leave the country.
Ms. Salih first visited Pittsburgh in March as part of the 2012 International Women of Courage celebration. She now lives in Washington, D.C., but returned here to be honored last Tuesday by Pittsburgh City Council and to meet with local Sudanese refugees.
Hawa Salih‘s unflappable witness in the face of unrelenting opposition is