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Advocacy group demands release of South Sudan political detainees

March 17, 2014 (KAMPALA) – Justice for Juba four (J4J4) a South Sudanese pressure group is advocating for International human right support for justice to be granted to the country’s four senior politicians detained on treason charges.

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Former SPLM secretary-general Pagan Amum attends his court trial in the South Sudan capital, Juba, on 11 March 2014 (Photo: Reuters/Andreea Campanu)

The four, who include the ex-secretary general of South Sudan’s ruling party, Pagan Amum, former diplomat, Ezekiel Gatkouth and ex-ministers Oyai Deng Ajak and Majak D’Agoot former were arrested and detained for allegedly plotting a coup in mid-December last year.

J4J4, in a statement, said the detained be “released immediately or allow them to face justice before a properly constituted, independent tribunal grounded in due process and with, given the political nature of the trial, objective and independent international standards/oversight”.

They criticised the manner in which government convened its “special court” to try the suspects, describing the whole judicial process as “unconstitutional”, adding that the proceedings “lacked due process in accordance with international human rights standards”.

“Both the convening of the special court and the treatment of the four detainees offended the very democratic and just foundations on which South Sudan was founded,” partly read the group’s statement extended to Sudan Tribune Saturday.

The pressure entity, one of whose objective is to ensure the four detained officials get fair trial and due process, in accordance with international standards also urged international human right groups to intervene in support of a motion to discourage the “libel” against the accused officials.

“We call on the government to end the special court trial before it further damages the international reputation of South Sudan,” J4J4 stressed in its statement.

The activist further called for an independent tribunal with international standards and that involvement should be immediately developed to ensure that justice was brought against whoever was, in fact and law, responsible for the unlawful killings since the conflict broke out.

The country’s two warring sides, they said, should initiate round-table discussions, which included the four detainees to forge peaceful dialogue and reconciliation in the war-hit nation.

(ST)