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ACTIVISTS, CONGRESSMAN PROTEST LAWYER’S LOBBYING FOR SUDAN
As government attacks civilians, Bart Fisher profits by trying to ease sanctions
WASHINGTON, DC – DECEMBER 16, 2011 – Today, outside the Law Offices of Bart S. Fisher, American and Sudanese activists and a leading member of Congress gathered to protest Mr. Fisher’s representation of the government of Sudan. Carrying protest signs and chanting, “Mr. Fisher, step aside, you’re representing genocide,” the activists called on the attorney to stop helping Sudan avoid consequences for ongoing government-sponsored genocide and mass atrocities.
Sudan recently contracted with Mr. Fisher to provide legal support for the Sudanese government’s effort to be removed from the U.S. State Sponsors of Terrorism list. According to federal registration documents, his firm is being paid $20,000 a month by the government of Sudan. While Mr. Fisher argues that he is not a lobbyist, Congressman Frank Wolf has noted that he received an unsolicited letter and a call from the lawyer yesterday detailing why sanctions against Sudan should be lifted. “If that’s not lobbying, I don’t know what is,” Wolf said.
According to Eric Cohen, an Act for Sudan member and spokesman, neither Bart Fisher nor the U.S. government should attempt to reward the government of Sudan given its decades-long history of committing atrocities. “As hundreds of thousands of civilians in Sudan face assault, famine and displacement at the hands of their own government, Mr. Fisher should be ashamed to argue that the United States should reduce sanctions on this genocidal regime.”
Congressman Frank Wolf attended the rally in support of the protesters. “The Department of Treasury was wrong to allow the genocidal government of Sudan to hire a U.S. lawyer and should immediately revoke the license it granted, especially considering the lawyer already has violated the law by lobbying me,” he said. “What has happened — and continues to happen in Sudan — is tragic. Who is representing the innocent families living in refugee camps? The women being raped? The men being killed? The children starving? The President, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Treasury and the head of OFAC all have the ability to fix this. History will be their judge if they fail to act.”
Today’s protest was coordinated by Act for Sudan, a bipartisan, interfaith alliance of 55 American and Sudanese advocacy organizations across the country. Recently, Act for Sudan coordinated an open letter to President Obama signed by 66 organizations across the country asking the United States to urgently address civilian protection and humanitarian assistance for millions of Sudanese under attack by their own government.
Hundreds of thousands of civilians in South Kordofan and Blue Nile face relentless bombardment, ground attacks, violent displacement, and starvation due to the Sudanese government’s ongoing military assaults. Further, the government is denying humanitarian aid access to these vulnerable men, women and children. In Darfur, civilians continue living in insecurity and under government oppression and attack for years.
Act for Sudan is an alliance of American citizen activists and Sudanese U.S. residents who advocate for an end to genocide and mass atrocities in Sudan. Act for Sudan is dedicated to advocacy that is directly informed by the situation on the ground and by Sudanese people who urgently seek protection, justice, and peace. For more information please visit www.actforsudan.org.