For immediate release: 12 February 2018
SSHURSA calls on President Salva Kiir, Kenya, IGAD, African Union and United Nations to set free James Gatdet Dak
The South Sudan Human Rights Society for Advocacy(SSHURSA) condemns in strongest terms possible the death sentence handed down on James Gatdet Dak by the High Court on 12 February 2018 in South Sudan’s capital, Juba. James Gatdet Dak, a former spokesperson of the SPLM/A-IO leader Dr Riek Machar was kidnapped and deported to South Sudan in 2016 from Kenya. He has been under ‘mock trial’ in Juba. He was charged with treason, incitement to violence among others.
James Gatdet Dak has never been accorded fair trial. His lawyer withdrew, citing threats and intimidation from the state national security. James Gatdet Dak has been battling in court without any legal representation contrary to the fair trial rights under Article 19 of the Transitional Constitution of South Sudan, 2011. James Gatdet Dak is a victim of conscience whose guilt was only having exercised his constitutional right to free speech. Besides, James Gatdet Dak is a typical political detainee whom the government should have released within the provisions of the Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities which the government, SPLM/A-IO and other Opposition Groups signed in December 2017 in order to restore peace and unity in South Sudan.
Sentencing to death James Gatdet Dak is not only a sign of how cruelty has shot the climax in South Sudan but also a deliberate attempt to derail the ongoing South Sudan’s peacetalks in Ethiopia.
SSHURSA calls on President Salva Kiir to rise above political hatred and urgently releases James Gatdet Dak. President Kiir ‘s swift action to release James Gatdet Dak will serve the interest of peace and most needed unity of South Sudanese communities. Death sentence is the most heinous way to rid his life.
SSHURSA further calls on Kenya to prevent harm to James Gatdet Dak‘s life. It was Kenya that deported him to South Sudan to face political persecution, which was done against the international law.
IGAD, United Nations, African Union, Troika, African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and all African and international human rights groups, should immediately intervene to save the life of James Gatdet Dak and have him set free unconditionally. James Gatdet Dak is innocent, an honest citizen and only a victim of in-depth political hatred in South Sudan. The whole world should stand up to save the life of this one innocent man James Gatdet Dak, whose ultimate right to life is being eliminated.
For media contact, Executive Director Biel Boutros Biel, Kigali, Rwanda.
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