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US embassy urges S. Sudan to release Peter Biar, other detainees


July 27, 2019 (JUBA) – South Sudan should comply with its legal obligations by informing all detainees of all charges against them in a timely fashion or releasing the detainees if there are no charges, the United States embassy said.

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Peter Biar Ajak poses with Bishop Emeritus Paride Taban, on 7 April 2018 (ST Photo)

In a statement issued on July 28, 2019, a year after South Sudanese activist Peter Biar Ajak was arrested, the embassy urged Juba to implement provisions of the peace agreement by releasing political prisoners.

On June 11, the court judge sentenced the activist on charges of inciting violence and disturbing the peace over interviews Biar gave to the media during a stand-off between inmates and guards at the National Security Service (NSS) headquarters on October 7, 2018.

“Under South Sudanese law, the government has an obligation to charge defendants in a timely fashion and start judicial proceedings expeditiously; yet when detainees in the National Security Service’s “Blue House” detention facility seized control of the jail in protest, most of them, including Peter Biar, had never been brought before a judge,” partly reads the statement.

It observed that although the Transitional Constitution stipulates that “no person shall be subjected to arrest, detention, deprivation or restriction of his or her liberty except for specified reasons and in accordance with procedures prescribed by law,” others have been subject to arbitrary arrest and prolonged detention without charge.

“The September 2018 peace agreement is an important step forward towards peace in this country. However, for the promise of peace to be realized, South Sudan must be a nation of laws,” it noted.

Biar was sentenced alongside South Sudanese businessman, Kerbino Agok Wol over accusations that they threatened the national security of the state.

The court also sentenced five other accused people to five years in jail.


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