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Civil rights body urges release of political prisoners in S. Sudan

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June 18, 2017 (NAIROBI) - South Sudan National Civil Rights Alliance (NCRA), has demanded for the “immediate” and “unconditional” release of all political prisoners or detainees across the country as directed by the President Salva Kiir while launching the national dialogue initiative in the South Sudanese capital, Juba last month.

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Kenyans detained in South Sudan with their ambassador in Juba (NTV photo)

NCRA, in a strongly-worded statement, expressed dismayed that no credible action had so far been taken in regard to release of well-known political prisoners and other detainees as earlier promised.

“We would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the President of the Republic for the historic decision of the National Dialogue that is geared toward finding a lasting peace to the people of South Sudan,” partly reads the release Sudan Tribune obtained.

“We remain hopeful that peace, security and stability of the country are still within the reach of the people through their government and its partners”, it added.

The Kenyan-based entity, it its statement, said it was outraged by the slow pace through which concerned government institutions translate the president’s words into credible action in order to build and consolidate public confidence towards the national dialogue.

“This will raise the questions of who is in charge of government policies when these officials show intransigence and reluctance to implement His Excellency the President’s directives”, it stressed.

The organization appealed to the general public to report any missing person, using the email and phone numbers on the release.

“We call on the public to report to NCRA any citizen that was arrested by any organized forces using the email and the telephone number below; be it national security service, military intelligence, Police or CID [Criminal Investigation Department] or the prison services. Please give their full names, the state they are from, date of arrest if known, agency holding him/her, his/her current known detention location, indicate his/her gender”, the statement noted.

According to the civil rights body, the lack of political will to release political prisoners would be a stumbling block for the smooth consultation by the country’s National Dialogue Steering Committee.

It, however, appealed to the National Dialogue Steering Committee members not to relent in endeavors of releasing political detainees.

“We remains seize of the matter and will engage all the stakeholders to see the directives of His Excellency the President are implement in letter and spirit”, further stressed NCRA’s statement.

The national dialogue, launched last month, is both a forum and process through which the people South Sudan shall gather to redefine the basis of their unity as it relates to nationhood, redefine citizenship and belonging, as well as restructure the state for national inclusion.

(ST)

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