SPRINGFIELD, Ore. - Rudwan Dawod was released from a Sudanese prison just weeks before his wife gave birth to the couple's first daughter, Nylie.
. "I don’t know really what to say but it is real when I first touch her and I hold her right it was something amazing. I mean I’ve been happy in my life before but I have never had this feeling before," Rudwan said.
Sudan Nyala Rudwan Dawod was born ar 12:30 p.m. Monday, weighing seven pounds and seven ounces
Rudwan was held captive in Sudan over the summer after he was accused of being a spy. At one point, he faced prison or even death if convicted. The couple said they had doubts during the crisis.
"Just knowing that he felt that, knowing that he might not come home, it's hard to hear him say that," Nancy said.
"I didn't lose the hope really," Rudwan said. "I was worried yes, but I didn't lose the hope because I knew that there were too many people standing behind me, praying for me, and I never even met them."
Rudwan was arrested during a missionary trip where he was imprisoned and beaten by as many as 13 people at a time. While his eyes were covered, he said that his heart was clear.
"I'm not their enemy," he said of his captors, "and they are not my enemy.
"Even if I became free," he remembered thinking, "I won't really look at them as my enemy. I look at them just like innocent people."
Rudwan said his work isn't over yet.
"I have to prove that Sudan is a good country and, to make it a good country, I should continue, struggle, and support our people so we can make a better country that my daughter can be proud of. Yeah, she’s an American but shes a Sudanese too," Rudwan said.
Rudwan wants his daughter to be proud of her Sudanese heritage, even if some people of the country held her father prisoner.
Rudwan said that throughout his ordeal, there was one thing he counted as a positive.
"I lost a lot of the weight," he said. "My friends call it the al-Bashiir's diet."