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S. Sudan rights body welcomes release of political prisoners

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August 13, 2017 (JUBA) - The Centre for Peace and Justice (CPJ), a South Sudanese human rights entity has welcomed the release of political prisoners by the Juba government, stressing that the move fulfilled the amnesty pardon President Salva Kiir earlier declared.

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President Salva Kiir addresses the nation from the State House on September 15, 2015, in Juba (Photo AFP/Charles Atiki Lomodong)

South Sudan released at least 30 political prisoners since President Kiir declared an amnesty in May this year to facilitate national dialogue and help end the civil war, a senior security official said last week.

Jalban Obaj, director of legal affairs at the Internal Security Bureau told the state-owned television (SSBC) on Thursday that the prisoners were set free at different times since the declaration of the amnesty.

CPJ’s coordinator, Tito Anthony, said the decision by government showed goodwill towards the revitalization of the 2015 peace accord.

"The releasing of political prisoners is a good step, but the government should consider releasing SPLM-IO [South Sudan’s armed opposition] spokesperson James Gatdet Dak because he is too is a political prisoner,” Tito told Sudan Tribune on Sunday.

The outspoken official urged South Sudan government to open its arm in order to bring lasting peace to the civilians in the young nation, through engaging the armed opposition for peace talks.

"The next step should be ending the war in country and negotiation with the armed opposition of Dr Riek Machar and the newly formed movements like NDM [National Democratic Movement], NSF [National Salvation Front], among others,” he further stressed.

The rights body called on South Sudanese authorities to reconsider their stand against individuals detained in the country, while stressing the need for government to respect peoples’ rights as well as end illegal detention of those accused of supporting rebellion.

"Detention is a violation of the human rights of the individual [and] therefore the government must consider compensating the prisoners because of their rights to remedy,” Tito further told Sudan Tribune.

Meanwhile, the spokesperson for the presidency, Ateny Wek Ateny said the release of political detainees demonstrated Kiir’s good will.

Freeing of the detainees without any precondition also demonstrated that Kiir was determined to resolve the country’s civil war, Ateny was quoted saying last week.

South Sudan’s civil war is a conflict in South Sudan between forces of the government and opposition forces. In December 2013, President Kiir accused his former deputy Riek Machar and ten others of attempting a coup d’état.

Tens of thousands of people have been killed and over two million displaced in the country’s worst-ever outbreak of violence since the young nation seceded from Sudan in 2011.

(ST)

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  • 14 August 07:47, by Lenin Bull

    Some rights bodies and civil sociteies/NGOs are SPLA-IO affiliates because they would to condemn government activities and programs while they are dumb on SPLA-IO atrocities on innocent civilians travelling on roads and in cities they capture. Where are the SPLA-IO prisoners they captured from government? SPLA-IO killed all of them at first sight!! Why are the so called right bodies silent

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  • 14 August 07:51, by Lenin Bull

    Why are the so called rights bodies and civil societies silent on these SPLA-IO crimes war crimes and crimes against humanity? Some of these rights groups are sponsored by SPLA-IO and enemies of South Sudan to black mail the government and collect information which sell to their donors for funding. This is high treason!!

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  • 14 August 12:11, by Independent Thinker

    “Freedom means the supremacy of human rights everywhere. Our support goes to those who struggle to gain those rights or keep them. Our strength is our unity of purpose. To that high concept there can be no end save victor’’. Thank you so much Mr.Tito Anthony for a wonderful statement. Hopefully Kiir’s authoritarianism regime will read this statement.

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  • 15 August 08:17, by gatkhor Nueri

    Kiir Mayardiit you release some prisoner and where is some People Like CDR James Gatdet Lampuar from Nasir and Gatriay Nyuol Donge from Ulang? which mean you are liar.

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