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Concerns over delayed verdict on S. Sudan hotel attack

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May 6, 2018 (JUBA) – The verdict from the trial of a dozen South Sudanese soldiers accused of gang-raping foreigners and killing a local journalist at Terrain hotel, Juba has delayed with both the defense and prosecution expressing frustration in the whole process.

Victims say they feel forgotten, while the lawyer for the detained soldiers says his clients’ rights are being violated while the verdict is delayed without apparent reason, the Associated Press reported.

“It seems that the international community, South Sudan’s government and the organizations involved have forgotten about this horrible incident,” the Italian aid worker who was the only foreign survivor to testify told AP, adding “I had hoped this trial could have created a precedent for these types of horrific crimes.” She spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution”.

Terrain Hotel, a luxurious hotel accommodating foreigners and employees from the United Nations agencies, was attacked by suspected government soldiers loyal to South Sudan President Salva Kiir on 11 July when fighting erupted between rival forces of the South Sudanese leader and former First Vice President, Riek Machar.

Humanitarian workers and UN staff alleged multiples rapes, looting and physical assault by the armed men who remained inside the hotel’s compounds for several hours, repeatedly raping ladies. A white lady from the United States later on revealed to the international media that she was raped by at least 15 soldiers.

One of the staff, an ethnic Nuer man, was also shot dead instantly in the hotel compound when his tribal identity was known by the soldiers. An American citizen who witnessed his killing said when the soldiers saw the young Nuer man among the staff he shouted “Nuer” and then shot him twice and he immediately fell to the ground.

Trial of the case began a year ago in military court for the soldiers and ended in January, with the final verdict expected a month later.

If convicted of rape, the soldiers could face up to 14 years in prison and anyone found guilty of murder, could be sentenced to death.

During the trial, however, all the accused soldiers pleaded not guilty.

South Sudan said the Terrain hotel trial showed its “commitment to human rights, the rule of law and transparency of the legal system.

“We have no information for why it’s not moving forward and I’m worried that it’s taking so long,” the lawyer for the victims, Phillips Anyang Ngong, told AP.

However, the lawyer for the accused, Peter Malual Deng Lual, called the delay a violation of his clients’ right to a speedy trial of the case.

“It would be good if we had a verdict as some of them might be freed,” he told AP.

There was, however, skepticism from the onset that the investigation into this particular attack on foreigners and that on South Sudanese would ever be addressed by the government for failure in the past.

(ST)

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  • 7 May 09:12, by Lenin Bull

    Some people think weird. How do you advocate for the sentence of soldiers into firing squad or life imprisonment of compensation when no single woman showed up in the court for having been dickenized. The whole story about having been raped was a make up to spoil the name of SPLA in international media and the test of that fake story was when all those women were asked to come and testify.

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    • 7 May 21:04, by injuba

      @ Lenin Bull
      Do you really think the women ever wanted to come back to this disaster of a country after being brutally raped by some uniformed, primitive savages? Do not flatter yourself, South Sudan is not a country important enough for anybody on this earth to invent stories about.

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      • 7 May 21:12, by injuba

        A friend witnessed some of the women being brought to AFEX after being rescued and the terrible state they have been in. Lenin Bull, shame on your primitive tribal soul, not being able to see what everybody sees and witnesses. Not just the rape of the aid workers, but the rape and plundering of a whole country by some greedy, back ward idiots, calling themselves "born to rules".

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        • 7 May 21:14, by injuba

          While being unable to rule anything than a herd of cows! And even the cows look pathetic.

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    • 7 May 21:29, by Joseph Canada

      How about if it was your mother that was "Dickenized" will you talk like that? You reason like you came out of the tree not from woman. Any Human who think like you is a heartless inhuman. You have no respect for yourself but shame.

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  • 7 May 09:20, by Lenin Bull

    They never showed up. The story was part of the fake stories being fiddled around like those coined by human rights of gang rape, castration of males, cutting off breasts, raping of granies, cannibalism, etc. These are fake made up stories to spoil the image of SPLA. Even South Sudanese themselves do not agree that stories did happen. No single civilians testified that he/she was forced

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  • 7 May 09:25, by Lenin Bull

    to eat another dead human being. No single woman whose breats were cut off not even a photo of a dead woman whose breasts were cut off. West Africans who came from Liberia and Sierra Leone were such crimes happened were hurriedly transferred to South Sudan operation in UNMISS Human Rights Department and they copied and pasted their own crimes into our conflict in South Sudan.

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  • 7 May 09:30, by Lenin Bull

    No photos of boys castrated and no proof of a living castrated boy/man or picture of a castrated dead body. South Sudanese people should wake up from being used as a guinea pig by and for international organizations to gain relevance and money. You research Human Rights stories in former Liberia and Sierra Leone when they were at war and compare those stories with now in South Sudan.Copy and paste

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  • 7 May 11:18, by Theallseeingeye

    Lenin Bull
    You are testifying that nothing happen to those victims simply because you are a Jienge, and you dwell in Jienge areas where the only insecurity there are account to cattle raids, inter-communal fighting & revenge killings. but trust me brother, WE HAVE WITNESS HELL, even much worst than that, in fact all those things which are being narrated, actually happen to our beloved ones..

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    • 7 May 11:45, by Theallseeingeye

      cont...
      therefore, for you to naively discredit these facts without any sense of guilt and redemption is more than insult to the relatives of innocents who are mercilessly victimized by barbaric acts of those primitive tribal mercenaries called SPLA.

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