Farrow offers her freedom for Darfur rebel


KHARTOUM, Sudan -- Mia Farrow has offered her freedom in exchange for that of a respected Darfur rebel figure, virtually imprisoned for more than 13 months, in a letter to Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir.

Sudan Liberation Army Humanitarian Coordinator Suleiman Jamous has been confined to a U.N. hospital in Kordofan, neighboring Darfur, since the United Nations moved him there without permission last year.

He needs a stomach biopsy that cannot be performed there.

Khartoum said if he left he would be arrested but has said it is open to talks on his release.

"Before his seizure, Mr. Jamous played a crucial role in bringing the SLA to the negotiating table and in seeking reconciliation between its divided rival factions," Farrow said in the letter dated Aug. 5.

"I am therefore offering to take Mr. Jamous's 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."

Farrow, who was once married to Frank Sinatra, is a goodwill ambassador to the U.N. children's agency UNICEF and has visited Darfur twice. She has 15 children, 11 of them adopted.

International experts estimate 200,000 have died and 2.5 million been driven from their homes in more than four years of fighting in Sudan's remote west.

Since an AU-mediated peace deal signed last year by only one of three rebel negotiating factions, the movements have split into more than a dozen factions.

U.N. Darfur envoy Jan Eliasson and his African Union counterpart Salim Ahmed Salim said they had asked for Jamous' release to help with the peace process they are leading. This weekend they brought key commanders and factions together to thrash out a common position ahead of renewed peace talks.

But the large SLA-Unity faction had said they would not participate if Jamous was not freed and allowed to attend.

The talks in Tanzania will end Monday.