December 6, 2016 (JUBA) – The government of South Sudan on Tuesday ordered immediate deportation of Justin Lynch, an American scribe working for the Associated Press (AP).
Lynch was reportedly taken to Juba airport and put on a Uganda-bound plane.
The journalist, known for his extensive coverage of human rights violations in the young nation, was told he was being deported for his work, which never pleased South Sudanese authorities.
According to the AP, prior to Lynch’s deportation, South Sudanese security agents seized his mobile phones and allowed him to pack his bag.
Top executives from the agency defended the journalist, saying they will ask for explanation from South Sudan government on the American scribe was deported.
"Any move to suppress legitimate journalism and truthful reporting shedding light on humanitarian crimes is wrong and should be condemned. We hope that the government of South Sudan will reconsider its actions," Ian Phillips, AP’s vice president for international news told the agency Tuesday.
When contacted, however, South Sudan’s Minister of Information Michael Makuei reportedly said he had no knowledge of the deportation, but will look into the matter.
South Sudan is ranked 140th out of 180 countries in Reporters Without Borders 2016 World Press Freedom Index, falling 26 places since the start of its civil war in 2013.