February 19, 2018, The South Sudan’s human rights groups in the Diaspora call upon the South Sudan government to drop all charges against, and release unconditionally, Mr. James Gatdet Dak, former journalist and spokesperson of the South Sudan Liberation Movement -In Opposition (SPLM-IO) with an immediate effect.
On 12th February, 2018, James Gatdet Dak, was sentenced to death penalty on charges of treason and war incitement against the government of South Sudan by the rogue regime in Juba after spending one year in detention. Dak was innocently accused and his imprisonment was only politically motivated by his affiliation to an opposition group.
James Gatdet Dak was kidnapped on November 4th, 2016 at his residence in the capital of Kenya, Nairobi, by the Kenyan authorities after his comments on his Facebook page regarding the dismissal of Mr. Johnson Mogoa Kimani Ondieki, a Kenyan citizen, working as a commander of the United Nations’ forces in South Sudan. Mr. Kimani was dismissed on allegations of failing to protect civilians during clashes on July 8, 2016 in Juba between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and the opposition forces under Dr. Riek Machar.
The Kenyan authority acted in an irresponsible manner by violating the international law for refugees’ protection by deporting James Gatdet Dak to South Sudan regardless of his refugee status.
Dak’s judgment is a total violation of the Transitional Constitution of South Sudan article 19.6 which stipulates a right of any accused to defend himself/herself through a lawyer of their own choice. Dak’s verdict was pronounced few months after his defendants walked away in protest of unfair trial conducted by the South Soudan high court.
The court is also dishonoring the High Level Revitalization Forum (HLRF) Agreement on the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (CoHA) Article 8.3 of demobilization signed on December 21st, 2017, which states that all the political prisoners and detainees shall be released within 14 days after the signing of the agreement.
The government of South Sudan needs to demonstrate its commitment to freedom of expression and the protection of civilians instead of conducting politically motivated prosecutions. Real leadership is needed if Kiir’s regime is to convince South Sudanese and the world that his government is genuinely supporting public opinions and the freedom of press for pursuit of peace.
The human rights groups call on South Sudan government to respect its own constitution and the recent CoHA to release all political detainees and to give room for peace to prevail in the country.
South Sudan human right groups in the Diaspora call on the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), U.S congress, European Union, IGAD, Troika countries, African Union, all the international human rights organizations, Faith based groups and human rights activists to use their power and immediately intervene and stop the politically motivated prosecutions on James Gatdet Dak by the Juba regime.
Global Partnership for Peace in South Sudan – Theresa Samuel, firstname.lastname@example.org
Human Rights activists – Simon Deng, email@example.com
Nile Peace Development Relief Agency USA – Dr. Gatluak Deith, firstname.lastname@example.org
South Sudan International Advocacy for Human Rights (SSIAHR) – Peter Gatkuoth W. Kuel, email@example.com