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James Dak’s family renews calls for South Sudan president to release him

James Gatdet Dak sits inside the dock in the High Court in Juba, South Sudan February 12, 2018. (Photo Reuters-Samir Bol)
August 26, 2018 (JUBA) - The family of the imprisoned SPLM-IO leader spokesperson Sunday renewed calls for his release from jail saying he developed a variety of health problem.

Last Monday, the South Sudanese government announced the release of 21 political prisoners "as a sign of peace" but their identities were not disclosed. The move came after the signing of an agreement on the outstanding issues of governance in Khartoum on 5 August.

The government and opposition groups on 27 June 2018, signed the Khartoum Declaration of Agreement, where they committed themselves to a permanent ceasefire, including, the opening of humanitarian corridors, and release of prisoners of war and political detainees.

James Gatdet Dak’s family said in a statement extended to Sudan Tribune that he was not among the freed political prisoners and called on President Salva Kiir to release him.

"We appeal to the President to follow through his promise in releasing James and as good gesture for peace," said his wife Mary Nyahok Chuol in a statement she sent from a European country where she is in exile with their children.

"My husband needs serious medical attention as his health deteriorates by the day," Chuol further added.

on 12 February 2018, a special court in Juba sentenced James to death by hanging, but his lawyers described the verdict as a political decision.

Chuol said they had great hope that President Kiir orders his release soon especially as the parties are now finalizing the implementation matrix of the revitalized peace agreement.

"We have been waiting all this time hoping to see you taking practical steps for the release of James Gatdet Dak," she pointed out.

The spokesperson of the former first vice president was arrested in Nairobi and deported by the Kenyan authorities to Juba on 3 November 2016 because he praised a UN report blaming a Kenyan general who was the UNMISS former force commander for his failure to protect civilians in Juba during the bloody clashes of July 2016.