February 13, 2018 (JUBA) – South Sudanese youth have denounced the death sentence passed on to ex-rebel spokesperson,James Gadet Dak on Monday describing the sentence as a politically-motivated decision.
A South Sudan court has sentenced Dak to death by hanging, citing multiple provisions in the constitution as the basis upon which the verdict was reached.
Dak was facing several charges, including treason. The special court announced the verdict sentencing him to death by hanging in the capital, Juba on Monday morning.
Multiple sources who reacted to the high court verdict said the death sentence violated the cessations of hostilities declared by President Salva Kiir and the pardon granted by the South Sudanese leader to all political detainees under several detentions facilities across the country in a connection to the conflict in the country.
“It is very clear that the government is not committed to the peace process as it now appeared in a continuation of all forms of violations, attacks on the SPLM-IO forces positions across the country, amassing on signing peace process now in Ethiopia and it contrary directing the justices against those who were involved in the conflict like James Gadet Dak,” said Emanuel Akolda Makoi Ater.
Ater urged youth across the nation to come out and strongly oppose the death penalty.
“There is a need for the youth of South Sudan at this last minute to come out with one voice calling on the government to direct its high court to release Dak,” he said.
Others called on the international community to urgently intervene in Dak’s case.
“My name is Machar Achiek, totally what is going in the Country does not reflect the image of peace because when both sides are busy negotiating on peace process, all forms of aggression should be halt, but now with the attack of government forces in Nasir on Sunday and again sentencing of Dak to death on Monday, what do you think the SPLM-IO should do with the signing of any peace,” said Achiek.
“Government is not committed to peace and this show to the International community that the government is on gear forcing it own citizens to rebellion,” he added.
The lead-defence lawyer Monyluak Alor Kuol described the verdict as a political decision.
“You know we pulled out last time from this process because we realized the whole thing was political. And because it was a political case, we thought it was to be addressed through a political process like the peace which is being revitalized in Addis Ababa, which called for the release of political detainees because the charges are not criminal charges in nature,” Kuol told Sudan Tribune on Monday.
“Unfortunately we told today that the court has announced the verdict and we hear that James is sentenced to death by hang. In another verdict, we hear he is sentenced to life in prison and there is a sentence talking of 20 years in prison. You really don’t know the bases. We are going to study the case when it is brought to us again by the family. This is what I know,” explained Kuol.
The verdict sentenced him for allegedly inciting violence which falls under treason charges according to article 64, disseminating false information to the detriment of South Sudanese national security under article 75 and insulting the president under article 76 under the South Sudanese penal code of 2008.
On 3 November 2016, the Kenyan authorities deported the former spokesperson of armed opposition leader, Riek Machar from Nairobi to Juba because he praised a United Nations report denouncing the world body’s failure to protect civilians in Juba.