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South Sudan main opposition calls for swift release of Machar’s spokesperson


James Gatdet Dak sits inside the dock in the High Court in Juba, South Sudan February 12, 2018. (Photo Reuters-Samir Bol)
October 3, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - SPLM-IO condemned statements by the South Sudan Presidential spokesman that his government has political prisoners and stressed they will not compromise over the release of James Dak, the spokesperson of the Movement’ leader.

On Monday Ateny Wek Ateny denied the existence of political prisoners in South Sudan. He told Radio Tamazuj that "all political detainees had been released. We have prisoners of war and not political detainees".

Also on Wednesday, Juba released twenty political prisoners but James Gatdet Dak, the imprisoned-spokesperson SPLM-IO’s leader was not among them.

Manawa Peter Gatkuoth SPLM-IO Deputy Chairperson of the National Committee for Information and Public Relations told Sudan Tribune they learnt that Dak was told that he is not included in the presidential decree for the release of the political prisoners and detainees.

"This is a serious development and we hope that the government of South Sudan will reconsider its position and release him as soon as possible," Manawa said.

He further said that Dak is "the ideal example for the political prisoner" according to the standards enshrined in international law before to stress that claiming he is not covered by the presidential pardon is a clear breach of the revitalized agreement.

"We appeal to the international community to intervene to secure his release because Dak’s imprisonment cannot be subjected to political bargaining," he said.

In November 2016, Kenya arrested and deported James Dak to Juba where he remained in jail until his trial in February 2018. He was sentenced to death on charges of treason and incitement against the government.

Already his lawyer said the trial of the SPLM-IO official was a violation of the cessation of hostilities agreement of 21 December 2017.

Manawa also slammed Ateny’s statements denying the existence of political prisoners in South Sudan and described it as "irresponsible statements" that fueling political strife at this critical stage in the implementation of the peace agreement.

He added that the international community should condemn such statements since IGAD, the African Union, the United Nations and the Troika are aware of such arrests and abduction of SPLM-IO members inside the country and in Kenya before their deportation to South Sudan where they are detained.

Human Rights Watch and Amnesty reported that two vocal government critics, Dong Samuel Luak and Aggrey Idri, were detained in Kenya in January 2017before the deliver them to the south Sudanese authorities

Also, there is the case of Peter Biar Ajak, a South Sudanese peace activist who was arrested last July.


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  • 4 October 07:55, by Malakal county Simon

    I dont know why the government holding james Gatdat hostage when there is a peace

    repondre message

    • 4 October 08:28, by Kush Natives

      Malakal county Simon,
      Those pow and few other who committed crime can’t just be released like birds out of the cage, there must be a mechanism in place, that’s why the transitional is formed. First, let the IO leadership come in or to Juba, so that the process of prisoners is taking care of. Why do we love to be lawlessness mind?

      repondre message

      • 4 October 08:44, by Malakal county Simon


        What’s crime did he James Gatdat exactly committed before you recklessly support his anti-release

        repondre message

        • 4 October 10:50, by Jongo

          Catdit is a prisoner of war not a political prisoner each side is holding so when both decide to exchange then he may come out or he has to remain & got rotten in prison for live one person Jenge/Nueir is not a big deal just a piece of an animal as long as others who committed crime against innocents people will follow to face justice NEXT

          repondre message

          • 4 October 11:05, by Kush Natives

            Keep your head up little man! If we the liberators thought the way you negatively thinking, then this country would not have been possible. FYI, we have no such mentality here, we’re just South Sudanese period. Such comments tell us all about who you’re. You’re still South Sudanese just by color, but your behavior is totally foreigner. Gatdet is a South Sudanese, therefore, he doesn’t need

            repondre message

            • 4 October 11:07, by Kush Natives

              - your help. Stay away from South Sudanese affairs period. We’re capable of doing the right thing for our citizens.

              repondre message

      • 6 October 01:22, by choldit

        What other mechanisms and in what other place a side from this Peace agreement? Do u really read ur posts. They are (ur messages) controversial to the peace. Why do u think SPLM/SPLA IO released its captives/ PoWs to ICRC without hesitation?

        The Nuer shouldn’t be the only people who love South Sudan to enjoy peace all the time. Wake up Dinka u destroyed South Sudan so much!

        repondre message

    • 4 October 11:50, by Midit Mitot

      This is unfair indeed, James Dak suppose to be the first person to released if people mean peace.

      repondre message

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