Movie star George Clooney was led away in handcuffs after storming the Sudanese Embassy protesting the actions of the country's president Omar Al-Bashir, an alleged war criminal.
Clooney made the rounds in Washington this week, hoping his superstar wattage will help shine a light on the situation in Sudan. The actor testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and held private meetings with the Secretary of State and President Obama about the African nation's dire humanitarian situation and the Obama administration's policy. He led a protest today outside of Sudan's embassy calling on Omar Al-Bashir, an alleged war-criminal, to stop the violence and allow humanitarian aid into the country.
Also among those arrested as a mob of reporters and cameramen looked on were Clooney's Father Nick Clooney; President of United to End Genocide and former Congressman Tom Andrews; Congressmen Jim McGovern, D-MA, Al Green, D-TX, Jim Moran, D-VA., and John Olver D-MA; Martin Luther King III, NAACP President Ben Jealous; and Enough Project Co-Founder John Prendergast, according to a police statement.
Clooney was released from jail after 2 p.m. when he "posted and forfeited" $100 bond.
This means Clooney won't face a court date.
"For certain criminal charges approved by the Board of Judges of the Superior Court, arrestees may qualify to have their cases resolved without having the time and expense of a court case or having a conviction on their record," according to Gwendolyn Crump with the Metropolitan Police Department in D.C.. "These persons are able to post collateral with law enforcement and, should they choose, forfeit the collateral as a way to quickly resolve the matter."
Clooney told The Associated Press before he was arrested that he can only hope to draw attention to the crisis in Sudan but that he doesn't know if any progress has been made. He said he was impressed, though, with Obama's engagement on the issue.
"It's amazing to sit down with a world leader who knows all of the intricacies of what's going on in Sudan," he said.
The actor said he asked Obama to involve China more in pushing for a solution in Sudan. He said international leaders need to "follow the money" flowing to Sudan's leaders to expose corruption.
"This is a moment where we have a chance to do something because if we don't, in the next three to four months, there's going to be a real humanitarian disaster," Clooney said before his arrest.
"It's such a silly thought to think you're actually succeeding in any of this," he told AP. "But if it's loud enough and you keep making it loud enough at the very least people will know about it, and you can't say we didn't know. That's the first step."
The Hollywood actor has been working with the John Prendergast from the advocacy group the Enough Project for years. He co-founded the Sudan Sentinel Project, which tracks human rights abuses on the border of Sudan and South Sudan using satellite cameras. Clooney's said in the past that he wants to draw attention to the atrocities Al-Bashir's allegedly directed against his own people for decades, to "make him famous."
The Sudan Embassy has released a statement claiming that Clooney is supporting "rebels against innocent civilians" and calls the Congressmen supporting him "misguided.... The actor put on quite the show that could possibly earn him yet another Golden globe...."
The embassy's statement adds that Clooney has "broken international law" by sneaking into the border regions without a visa, and that Khartoum wants to have constructive engagement with the international community. The current violence in the border region is the fault of rebels, the embassy claims, who are being funded by South Sudan.