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S. Sudan: Rights group renews calls for justice six months after Isaiah Abraham’s death


July 5, 2013 (JUBA) - Six months after the murder of a prominent opinion writer, a South Sudanese rights group has renewed calls for the government to bring his killers to justice.

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South Sudanese political commentator, Isaiah Ding Abraham Chan Awuol, who was shot dead by unknown gunmen in front of his house in Juba, early on the morning of Wednesday 5 December 2012 (Photo: Hayat)

Isaiah Abraham, who was regularly published in various news outlets, including Sudan Tribune, had written a series of articles criticising senior members of South Sudan’s ruling party - the SPLM - before his death and had received anonymous death threats, according to those close to him.

Abraham, whose full name was Isaiah Diing Abraham Chan Awuol, was murdered by unknown armed persons on the night of 5 December 2012 at his home in a suburb of the capital, Juba.

The outcry that followed led to the government to promise a swift and thorough investigation, but six months on, no progress has been made on the case.

At the time, people close the Abraham and some activists accused elements of South Sudan’s security services of involvement in the murder. The government has, however, denied this, although murder has been a major embarrassment to the ruling SPLM and contributed to the new nation’s poor rankings in press freedom and failed states indexes this year.

South Sudan celebrates its second independence anniversary on 9 July, but attacks on the press are becoming more frequent according to media freedom groups.

In the five months after Abrahm’s murder the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) "documented at least 12 cases of attacks, harassment, and detention of journalists in South Sudan. In all but two of the cases, security officials were the perpetrators. Security agents, including police, have routinely harassed, intimidated, and occasionally detained journalists."

In a May letter to president Salva Kiir, CPJ expressed "deep concern about the deteriorating state of press freedom" in the world’s youngest nation, which fought for independence on the basis of securing liberty for South Sudanese after decades of conflict with various Khartoum governments.

In a statement marking six months since Abraham’s murder, one of South Sudan’s most vocal human rights groups said that the government still had many questions to answer over the case.

The South Sudan Human Rights Society for Advocacy (SSHURSA) said that it "strongly believes that the answers lie with the Government of South Sudan."

"In the interest of justice and due process of the law, it would be proper to have the government answer" questions about the case "in a clear and frank language", which it had so failed to do so, the advocacy group said.

South Sudan’s information minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin said in December that a number of suspects had been arrested, but their identities have remained secret and no one has been brought forward for prosecution.

Three days after the murder, Marial acknowledged what many South Sudanese already believed government was 70% sure Abraham’s death was an "assassination".

The "silence" of the government on the matter since then, SSHURSA said, confirms their theory "that the state of South Sudan, clearly knows who killed Isaiah Abraham", who they describe as "a man who was true to his conscience [who was] killed for challenging evils meted on his fellow citizens."

The government’s inaction an "injustice" to Abraham’s family "and also a violation to Article 19(4) of the Transitional Constitution of South Sudan 2011 which stipulates a speedy and fair trial of the accused person(s)", the statement said.

The human rights group called on the government to either expedite the prosecution of those suspected of carrying out the murder or "publicly announce that it has failed".

SSHURSA said it believes the government is "covering up" the circumstances of Abraham’s death, even questioning the truth of the government’s announcement that it had arrested some suspects.


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  • 6 July 2013 10:09, by Bentiu son

    Dear South Sudanese at home n diaspora,our dear prominent commentator aka Isaiah Abraham was murdered in cold blood by security guards of murderer President Kiir under the command of notorious killer Marial Anuor in Juba becoz the late requested the heartless Salvatore to resigned peacefully.

    repondre message

    • 6 July 2013 14:53, by Dau-network

      His blood will trace the murderer because no one day we will see a right justice of Isaiah Abraham.
      Who are suspects ?
      What are their names?
      It was a total blindfold of public but there were no people had been arrested for his murdering. Kiir must go, Dr Riek must not. Clean person should come up to clean this mess. My heart broken because of Isaiah Abraham and l lost hope for our nation.

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  • 6 July 2013 10:13, by Dinkawarrior

    It came to our attention that Isaiah Abraham was murdered by Dr. Ceith Holocaust Traitor Machar’s gang. It’s not a first time ever to notify him as killer. Let’s wait and see what will happen to him.

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  • 6 July 2013 11:57, by kayart

    let him die,what is the important of him beyond the million people which have die some yrs ago in South Sudan.

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    • 7 July 2013 09:46, by Arakataa

      or wHoever you yourself don’t be mad.Isaiah was not corrupted man like you guys ,he was not in any ministry of your shit government so stop your primitives here on this matter great fool .

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      • 7 July 2013 18:14, by kayart

        the beach does not know the one who fuck it,,plse you already know me am your husband

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  • 6 July 2013 12:28, by Guandong

    Dinka Warrior!
    Respect using name Dinka for tribalism as ur failure draged u down to abusive language.

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  • 6 July 2013 12:35, by jay b

    The SPLM/A as whole is suck and disgusting. This is what local people spreading around quote "Nuers are become better leaders than Bhar El Ghazals" what the hell is going on here? When did they become better leaders or when did they learn to listen or when did they know the phrase " Kon Koc" in Dinka languish. They local people might be right in their viewpoint and I might be wrong, but definite

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    • 6 July 2013 12:58, by jay b

      They were politically wrong in their assessing. They are not suppose to generalize the whole groups but that what they know how and if the SPLM/A leaders are not listening they going to see worse things than before. If Nuers become over night than Dr. Risk Machar is not their leader and is not going be the leader of RSS and if our Bhar El Ghazal become less leaders than they need to do something

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      • 6 July 2013 14:43, by jay b

        Why "Kon Koc" is leaving our Bhar El Ghazal Leaders. I think the Dinkas abundon the "Kon Koc" principle and Nuers adopted and that what made them a better leaders of today. That is a big changed but idiot like Midit will spoil it unless the upheld themselves and follow the leaders of the big change and adaptation of the Jieng/Dinka way of going foreword not backward.

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        • 6 July 2013 14:57, by jay b

          Kiir killed Isaiah Abraham and he think that he deserve a second term. What a lunatic? I think that what make Nuers a better leaders than him Kiir.

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  • 6 July 2013 12:49, by Guandong

    Killing of Isaiah is act proving Tribalism regime. Not at all for Mr. Kiir to come again instead he is accountable for lives lose in his term n go to ICC.

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  • 6 July 2013 13:09, by Guandong

    I respect all diverities in ssudan as they are the subject to this independence. failure ruler must be separated from the tribe yes for tribe but no for the failure man to spoil the name of tribe.

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    • 6 July 2013 23:21, by Tutbol

      — -keep an eye on the UK with it hyenas media, it is an evil island, its attack dog israel, it placed in Middle East to terrorise natives, while it watch on the fence Palistenians suffer is quite unacceptable. It use the devil jews propaganda media to lecture the world on how it kill people, but it doesn’t know, everybody knows its evil intrigues stink to the mine of a living beings

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      • 6 July 2013 23:54, by Tutbol

        — -continue to heed the UK-US jews inspired propagandised media at your own peril. Take heeds from countries like Australia, Newzealan, Canada or other countries--- the UK, its attack dog and the US are pure evils. They intimidate people when they are told their wrongs, but that is how they are.

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  • 7 July 2013 06:33, by Odingo

    It is up to Dinka Bor to put down their cowardness and come up to respond strongly. otherwise Dinka Bor will be the first people confirmed wippedout by Dinka Kiir Kingdom. He died like someone who don,t have people in south Sudan.He was a fredom fighter, but got like criminal for telling the truth.Shame on ya Dinka Kiir Kingdom.

    repondre message

  • 8 July 2013 20:25, by Amoko

    Yeah I belive in those who say that Abraham was killed by Kiir’s kingdom,but his blood will bring changes to his kingdom.He is weak that’s why he resorted to kill innocent people.He will never rule again in this country!

    repondre message

  • 8 July 2013 20:35, by Amoko

    my dear Odingo I think Dinka Bor are not fearful to do away with the devil that kills his own poeple,but they have a vision of not returning the country into war.

    repondre message

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