March 14, 2013 (RUMBEK) - A radio journalist in Lakes state says that he has wrongly sentenced to a year in prison following false claims that he impregnated a 17-year-old girl outside of marriage.
Authorities in Rumbek, the capital of Lakes state are holding more then 30 young men in Rumbek Central prison for impregnating underage girls.
The sentences, which have been controversial among many, are in implementation of the state’s Penal Code, Criminal Code of Conduct and Customary law.
Nathan Marial Deng Ngor, who works for state-run FM 98 in Lakes state was arrested in February but says he was not allowed to have a defense lawyer or be allowed to explain himself before he was sentenced. Marial claims that his arrest was politically motivated.
As is customary in South Sudan after Marial’s girlfriend said she had become pregnant his family agreed that he would marry her and pay a dowry. However, Marial says that the girls parent’s changed their minds and decided to take the case to court instead.
"The judge sitting in high court sentence me to jail for one year without me explaining my position.”
Marial said that he witnessed "serious mistreatment" of inmates during his time in Rumbek Central prison, which houses 1,301 prisoners, 35 of which are there for getting girls pregnant outside marriage.
In his case Marial said that he was "deceived" into believing the girl and he was sentenced on this false basis.
However, Isaac Pur Majak, the head of the high court in Rumbek said that he will not revise his decision and said that Marial would have to appeal. Marial has no lawyer to represent him.
Marial said that he is insulted on a daily basis by prison wardens and is made to "kneel down in front of prison warden".
He said that Isaac Pur Majak has judged his case after only hearing the parents testimony. This is "not fair justice", he said.
Rumbek’s main prison services currently hold 1,301 inmates, who are charged with offenses ranging from murder and adultery to theft and drunken behaviour.